Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Referendum lost through failures in the Casa

More information which suggests why the referendum was lost comes from Renato Mannheimer's column in yesterday's Corriere (available through Brunik). Here are the relevant cross-tabs:

So, the centre-right was less able to bring its supporters to the polls. As David suggested to me, the 20% of 'traitorous' centre-right supporters is probably accounted for by the centre-right's votes in the South (who have less influence in this because fewer of them voted).

In the North, the provincial data now available shows that, within the Northern provinces, the profile of the 'si' voter was quite close to that of the Lega voter - that is, typically resident in the Northern countryside and smaller cities, not in the regional capitals, which all voted 'No', even in Milan.

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Majority infight #1

This story on the forthcoming parliamentary vote on the re-financing of the Italian mission in Afghanistan. The Partito dei Comunisti Italiani (16 seats in the Camera; 11 in the Senato along with the Greens) has threatened to vote against. It seems that the government may win a majority with the aid of the UDC.

This after two motions of confidence yesterday on two essential decrees - the milleproroghe (a package bill which prolongs the life of certain house-keeping decrees) and the "spacchettamento-ministeri" law (which assigns ministerial portfolios). The motions of confidence were won 160-0, with the opposition abstaining in an attempt to deprive the government of quorum. I find this particularly Italian manouevre quite distasteful. Picture from the vote below:

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Freedom House report

Looks like the attentive blogger at menteindependente picked up on the 2006 Freedom House report on freedom of the media: Italy remains in 79th place in the world, with a classification of 'partly free'. Italy is, along with Turkey, the only European country with this classification. Unfortunately, the 2006 report doesn't seem to be available on the Freedom House site. Perhaps Mediaset (the source cited) jumped the gun on this. The global rankings are available at the Freedom House website.

Why was the referendum lost?

More analysis on the weekend's referendum. A number of hypotheses:
  1. Voters judged that the referendum would worsen the position of economically disadvantaged regions relative to economically advantaged regions; we should expect the referendum to be lost most heavily in the most economically disadvantaged regions
  2. Voters judged that the referendum would worsen the position of the South and Islands relative to the Centre and the North, and would worsen the position of the Centre relative to the North; we should expect the referendum to be lost most heavily in the South and Islands, less so in the Centre, and least of all in the North
  3. Voters followed party cues (1); voters who supported parties of the centre-right should vote for the proposal
  4. Voters followed party cues (2); voters who supported Forza Italia and the Lega Nord should vote for the proposal
The following table presents the regions in order of their geographic affiliation (North/Centre/South&Islands), support for the referendum proposal, GDP per capita in 2003 euros, and total centre-right support in the 2006 elections to the Senate. Lower numbers indicate more support, more money, and more centre-right support.

Referendum Economic Centre-right
Piemonte 3 5 7
Valle d'Aosta 5 2 -
Lombardia 2 1 4
Veneto 1 6 3
Liguria 4 7 12
Emilia Romagna 8 3 16
Toscana 12 8 18
Umbria 10 10 14
Marche 7 9 9
Lazio 6 4 8
Abruzzi 9 11 5
Molise 13 12 10
Campania 16 16 15
Puglia 15 17 6
Basilicata 17 14 17
Calabria 18 18 11
Sicilia 11 15 2
Sardegna 14 13 13
(Valle d'Aosta) (-) (-) 1

The use of ordinals is a quick-and-easy compensation - we can try and forgive a little fuzziness caused by a big difference in ordinal rankings caused by minimal cardinal rankings.

Hypothesis 1: is broadly confirmed; the difference between ordinal referendum support and ordinal economic standing is less than or equal to two places with the exception of Sicilia, the Veneto, Basilicata, Toscana, and Emilia Romagna. The first two were more likely to support the referendum proposal than economic position would suggest; the remaining three less likely to support the referendum proposal than economic position would suggest. Sicilia and the Veneto are regions in which Forza Italia has considerable strength; Toscana and Emilia Romagna are regions in which the left has considerable strength. Basilicata has been won by the centre-left in the last two regional elections, but is not noted for centre-left strength.

Hypothesis 2: Hypothesis 2 is similar to Hypothesis 1 (since regions in the South tend to be poorer), but is less fine-grained and is subject to similar counter-examples, particularly Sicilia and Emilia Romagna.

Hypothesis 3: Hypothesis 3 tends to fail because the differences in centre-left/centre-right support tend to be much les strong (and so consequent to much greater ordinal confusion) than differences in referendum support.

Hypothesis 4: I haven't yet the disaggregated data to test Hypothesis 4 - but it would have to improve on Hypothesis 3 to be of much interest.

So, perhaps the conclusion should be this: the relative economic position of the regions was a relatively good predictor of their relative support for the referendum proposal, with more economically advanted regions supporting the proposal, except in party strongholds of the White and Red Belt, and in Sicilia.

Referendum post-mortem for CdL

After yesterday's referendum defeat for the centre-right, reports some scuttlebutt that may signal a very poor future for the parties that supported the reform:

Berlusconi dopo la sconfitta "Ora proveranno a farmi fuori" - Politica - "Al Senato, ad esempio, è già scattato l'allarme. Un plotone di 6-7 senatori potrebbe trasferirsi armi e bagagli nel gruppo misto per poi contrattare con Prodi il sostegno al governo. Senatori provenienti dalle fila centriste, ma anche forziste."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Italian referendum results

Well, the results are out in today's referendum on the constitutional revision programme of the centre-right. Take-away points:

  • the proposal was rejected convincingly, with more than six in ten voters disapproving of the law

  • the South & Islands rejecting the proposal most strongly, followed by Central Italy, then the North

  • Forza Italia strongholds (Lombardy and the Veneto) were the only regions to support the reform

There are three main questions here. First, why did the proposal fail?; second, why did the regions which did support it more do so?; and third, what happens for those parties which 'lost' the campaign (Forza Italia and the Lega Nord)?

My guesses on the first two questions - and they remain guess es until we can see exit polls with breakdowns of support for the proposal according to party - is that the referendum was lost because it was difficult to explain and because the UDC and Alleanza Nazionale didn't want to spend much time doing so; that the regions which did support the proposal more strongly did so because they were regions full of voters who vote for Forza Italia and the Lega, and were mobilised by those parties.

Granted, Forza Italia can't have convinced in the South. It sweeps Sicily in general elections, but Sicily still voted convincingly against the proposal.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Aznar resigns as Privy Council because of NewsCorp

El Mundo reports that former Prime Minister Aznar has resigned as Councillor of State (UK: Privy Councillor) in virtue of the incompatibility of that office with his membership of the board of News Corporation. As with all controversial cases of post-political careers, the question is: what does Aznar bring to NewsCorp?

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I haven't posted recently thanks to what will hopefully be my last-ever exams. I hope to post more in the next couple of days - especially on the referendum and Savoia scandal issues, but for the moment, BlogGoverno is an excellent site which involves sectoral 'experts' commenting on the government's action.

Monday, June 12, 2006 - Text vote to choose Tory mayoral candidate - Text vote to choose Tory mayoral candidate: another example of (a) David Cameron's tactical brilliance, and (b) the successful export of American-style primaries, used successfully in Italy to choose Romano Prodi as the centre-left's flag-bearer.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Senate elects committee chairs

Twelve presidents were elected to Senate committees today, with two committees (Defence and EU Affairs) still to come. Of the twelve, eleven presidents came from the centre-left. Only one - industry - went to a Forzista. See the Senate's news page.

For all the fuss that Berlusconi's made about the left's 'occupation' of all important posts, the left has been more generous to the right in 2006 than the right was to the left in 2001, when all fourteen commission presidents came from the centre-right coalition. In part, this is because the left doesn't have a majority in all commissions. Industry went to Scarabosio because of the defection of one Senator for abroad, who is on the margins of the centre-left coalition.

The most surprising result in fact comes from the election of Giorgio Benvenuto as president of the Finance commission. Seems the centre-left managed to persuade one centre-right senator to jump ship. Poor whipping on the part of the centre right. They're never going to be able to exploit the centre-left in the Senate if they keep this standard.

Italy govt mulling 3 options on curbing Mediaset, RAI power - report -

Italy govt mulling 3 options on curbing Mediaset, RAI power - report - "MILAN (AFX) - Italy's government is expected to consider three options to curb the market power of Mediaset SpA and state broadcaster RAI, said a report in Corriere della Sera, citing sector experts."