New law could see Berlusconi win elections

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Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right bloc would win 37.9 percent of the vote. Photo: Emilio Andreoli/AFP
10:01 CET+01:00
A coalition led by centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi would win national elections if Italians were to head to the polls under the new proposed electoral law, an opinion poll has found.

The centre-right bloc would win 37.9 percent of the vote, surpassing the 35 percent deemed necessary for a winning party or coalition, an Ipsos poll for Corriere della Sera said on Monday.

Berlusconi’s rival centre-left bloc would fall behind their rivals with 36 percent, under current voter preferences.

The new electoral reform, currently being debated by parliamentarians, was presented by centre-left leader Matteo Renzi and agreed upon with Berlusconi after Italy’s present law was deemed unconstitutional.

The proposal aims to do away with Italy’s fragmented political structure and avoid a repeat of the stalemate which followed the February 2013 elections, in which no party won outright.

READ MORE: Can Renzi's new law revamp Italian politics?

While the Ipsos poll will spark alarm among the centre-left, a breakdown of the figures shows that although Berlusconi may be able to win votes, his coalition would be far more fragile than that of his opponents.

Berlusconi’s own Go Italy (Forza Italia) party would win just 23.2 percent of the vote, while Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) boasts 33.5 percent. The latter bloc could reach 36 percent with the inclusion of Nichi Vendola’s Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party and other centre-left support.

The centre-right however would depend on broad agreement between a number of parties, including six percent of votes from the New Centre-Right (NCD) led by Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano who broke away from Berlusconi’s party last year.

Berlusconi would also need to court the Northern League (Lega Nord) to clinch an extra 3.2 percent. While the former prime minister has in the past won the party’s support, it has often been an unhappy alliance and in 1994 the Northern League caused the collapse of Berlusconi’s first government.

If the centre-right were to win under the newly-proposed law, both the far-right Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) and the centrist Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC) would have to be in agreement.

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The biggest losers according to the Ipsos poll would be the Five Star Movement (M5S), the anti-establishment party led by Beppe Grillo which won around a quarter of votes at last year’s election.

Despite currently having support of 20.7 percent of the electorate, Grillo would have no hope of winning an election outright as he refuses to negotiate with the other political parties.

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