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ITALIAN ELECTIONS

MAP: How Italy turned ‘blue’ in Sunday’s historic elections

After Italy's right-wing alliance won a big majority in Italy's elections, maps show how the vote went in their favour across almost all parts of the country.

MAP: How Italy turned 'blue' in Sunday's historic elections
Giorgia Meloni, Brothers of Italy party leader, is on course to become prime minister after a landslide election win for her coalition. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Italy’s right-wing centrodestra coalition – led by the post-fascist Brothers of Italy, the populist League, and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia – is set to form Italy’s next government, having swept to victory in elections on Sunday.

Taking almost 44 percent of the vote, the alliance is more than 18 percentage points ahead of its nearest rivals, the centre-left centrosinistra coalition, and will have a clear-cut majority in parliament.

READ ALSO: Triumph for Giorgia Meloni’s far-right party as Italy gets final election result

While Brothers of Italy and the League (formerly the Northern League) have their heartlands in northern Italy, they took seats almost everywhere in the country – in contrast to the north-south divide seen in 2018’s election result.

As various election result maps show, most of Italy is now ‘blue’ (the traditional colour of the right).

To get the most out of these visualisations, it helps to have a basic understanding of Italy’s notoriously complicated political system, so here’s a quick primer.

In a general election Italians get two votes, one for the senate and one for the lower house, and can vote for different parties in each if they wish.

Italy also has a fiendishly complicated hybrid voting system: about 37 percent of seats in both houses of parliament are allocated in a first-past-the-post vote in single-member constituencies, while the rest are elected by proportional representation via party lists of candidates.

That means some seats will be filled by candidates directly elected to represent their local constituency (i.e., the candidate with the most votes wins outright), with the rest divided proportionally between each party depending on their performance (i.e., a party with 20 percent of the votes gets 20 percent of the seats). Got that?

In these SkyTG24 live election result visualisations, the maps under the Circoscrizioni tab represent the results (so far) for proportional representation votes, while the maps under the Collegi tab show the results for first-past-the-post votes.

In the maps embedded above from Youtrend showing first-past-the-post results for the lower house (on the left) and the senate (on the right) on Monday morning, you can see that the majority of the country voted for the hard-right centrodestra coalition, shown in blue.

Just a few pockets in Emilia Romagna and Tuscany and in the north around Milan, Bolzano and Turin voted for the centre-left (red), with small areas of Campania, Puglia and Calabria voting for the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (yellow).

The maps for proportional representation are even more stark; here only a small electoral district around Naples is ‘yellow’, with the entire rest of the country turning blue.

Other visualisations also offer striking representations of Italy’s latest general election results.

Here you can see the distribution of votes for the right (on the left, in blue) versus the centre-left (right, in red):

And here is the difference in the distribution of votes received by Brothers of Italy in 2018 (when it won just four percent of the vote) versus 2022, when the party is set to win 26 percent:

Why did this happen? While it may look as though Italy has taken a sharp turn to the right, political analysts say strong support for the right in Italy has always been there, but was previously split.

Data shows Meloni likely drew much of her recent surge in support from Italy’s other right-wing parties, particularly the League, while many right-leaning supporters of Italy’s populist Five Star Movement also voted for the right-wing coalition this time.

A poor turnout in the south (and the lowest turnout historically in Italian election history) and the centre-left’s failure to form a strong coalition to fight the election is also thought to have contributed to the right’s landslide win.

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MIGRANT CRISIS

EU ministers hold crisis talks after migrant ship row between Italy and France

European interior ministers met in Brussels on Friday to discuss the latest migrant crisis – a move that was precipitated by Italy's controversial clash with France over the handling of refugees.

EU ministers hold crisis talks after migrant ship row between Italy and France

European interior ministers gathered for crisis talks on Friday as an ugly row between Paris and Rome over how to handle would-be refugees forced a EU migration reform back onto their agenda.

New arrival numbers haven’t yet hit the levels of 2015 and 2016, but European capitals are concerned about new pressure on sea routes from North Africa and overland through the western Balkans.

And now, with winter temperatures descending in eastern Europe and Ukrainian cities facing power cuts under Russian bombardment, the European Union is braced for many more war refugees.

The bloc has been struggling for years to agree and implement a new policy for sharing responsibility for migrants and asylum seekers, but a new dispute has brought the issue to the fore.

READ ALSO: Why are France and Italy rowing over migrants and what are the consequences?

Earlier this month, Italy’s new government under far-right leader Georgia Meloni refused to allow a Norwegian-flagged NGO ship to dock with 234 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean.

The Ocean Viking eventually continued on to France, where authorities reacted with fury to Rome’s stance, suspending an earlier deal to take in 3,500 asylum seekers stranded in Italy.

The row undermined the EU’s stop-gap interim solution to the problem, and Paris called Friday’s extraordinary meeting of interior ministers from the 27 member states.

Migrants in Lampedusa, Italy

Earlier this month, France suspended a deal by which it would take as many as 3,500 refugees stranded in Italy. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Complaints from Mediterranean countries closer to North African shores like Italy and Greece that they were shouldering too much responsibility for migrants led to the previous plan.

A dozen EU members agreed to take on 8,000 asylum seekers – with France and Germany taking 3,500 each – but so far just 117 relocations have taken place.

‘Nothing new’

After Italy refused responsibility for the Ocean Viking, France has declared that it no longer wants to not only allow ships to arrive from Italian waters but also take in thousands of other migrants.

On Monday, in a bid to revive the mechanism, the European Commission unveiled another action plan to better regulate arrivals on the central Mediterranean route.

“Obviously the meeting was set up following the spat between Italy and France over the migrants aboard the Ocean Viking,” a European diplomat said.

“The action plan that was shared with member states is perfectly fine, but contains nothing new, so it isn’t going to solve the migration issue.”

Stephanie Pope, an expert on migration for the aid agency Oxfam, dubbed Brussels’ plan “just another reshuffle of old ideas that do not work”. 

“It is a waste of time,” she said.

The plan would see a closer coordination between EU national authorities and humanitarian NGOs on rescues of migrants whose make-shift, overcrowded boats are in difficulty.

And it would see Brussels work more closely with Tunisia, Libya and Egypt to try to stop undocumented migrants boarding smuggler vessels in the first place.

READ ALSO: Italy arrests suspected trafficker over deaths of seven migrants

France would like a new framework within which NGO boats could operate – neither a total ban nor a carte blanche to import would-be refugees.

Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus often accuse the humanitarian charities of operating without respect to national authorities and of effectively encouraging immigration.

Migrants on a boat arriving in Italy

Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus often accuse NGOs of operating with disregard to national authorities. Photo by Gianluca CHININEA / AFP

Other member states, including Germany, argue that there can be no limits on humanitarian operations – all seafarers are obliged by the law of the sea to save travellers in danger. 

Ahead of the talks, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, warned: “With almost 2,000 people having already died or gone missing so far this year alone, urgent action is needed.”

Grandi welcomed the European Commission’s draft plan for state-led rescues and predictable ports of disembarkation, adding: “While states point fingers and trade blame, lives are lost.”

Border force

While France and Italy argue about high-profile cases of dramatic rescues in the central Mediterranean, other EU capitals are more concerned about land routes through the Balkans.

Almost 130,000 undocumented migrants are estimated to have come to the bloc since the start of the year, an increase of 160 percent, according to the EU border force Frontex.

On Thursday, the Czech, Austrian, Slovak and Hungarian ministers met in Prague ahead of the trip to Brussels to stress that this route accounts for more than half of “illegal arrivals” in the bloc.

Austrian interior minister Gerhard Karner said the EU should finance border protection and give members “a legal tool to return people who come for economic reasons”.

Diplomats said France and Italy would try to dominate the talks with complaints about sea arrivals, while Greece and Cyprus would point fingers at Turkey for allegedly facilitating illegal entries.

Central and eastern countries would focus on the Balkans route and, as one diplomat said, “Hungary and Poland don’t want anything to do with anything in the field of migration.”

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