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Edoardo Bressanelli

The European elections of May 2014 proved to be a key trial run for several actors within the Italian party system. Academic literature on these elections has often viewed European Parliament elections as “second-order” elections, that is, as expressions of opinion on the incumbent national government. This chapter analyzes whether this model still applies. It shows that the European Parliament elections were an unusual form of second-order election, in that they allowed voters to reward the Renzi government, which was still enjoying a honeymoon period.

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Televised Election Debates in a Deliberative System

The Role of Framing and Emotions

Emma Turkenburg

Political discourse in general, and election debates specifically, face critique ( Coleman 2020 ; Marien et al. 2020 ). Often-heard remarks include that these debates are just for show, have limited substance, and only consist of politicians

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Rinaldo Vignati

This chapter describes the main events in the recent history of the Five Star Movement (M5S). The first section deals with the party's success in municipal elections in May 2012 and hypothesizes that up to now M5S voters are mainly former supporters of center-left parties and that the success of the M5S was influenced by previous leftist movements. The second section is about the first steps taken by the new M5S mayor of Parma, Federico Pizzarotti, while the following covers the rise of the party in opinion polls and its success in Sicily's regional elections. The next section deals with the organizational problems and dilemmas of the M5S, and the final section sketches a profile of the movement—a party in which there are both populist and hyper-democratic traits, civism and anti-politics sentiments.

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James L. Newell

Gauging the effectiveness with which the challenge of the Five Star Movement (M5S) has been met by other parties, especially the Democratic Party (PD), is essential to understanding the evolution of both the M5S itself and the party system. In the case of the PD, the first strategy—attempting to co-opt the M5S—was partially successful in that its overtures to the M5S opened up significant internal divisions in Beppe Grillo's party. The second strategy—competing for votes—was more successful thanks to the superiority of the PD's organization on the ground. The third—diminishing the challenger's political resources—met with mixed success. The events surrounding the 2 October confidence motion and the election of Matteo Renzi as prime minister suggest that the fourth strategy—reinforcement of the party's own political resources—was deployed to good effect. The overall result was to contain the M5S's growth but leave the future uncertain.

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Vincenzo Emanuele and Nicola Maggini

The importance of the 2016 municipal elections in Italy was a consequence not only of the number and relevance of the cities involved, including Rome, Milan, Naples, and Turin, but also of their timing, occurring in the middle of the 2013–2018 electoral cycle. These elections were thus perceived as a mid-term test for the national government, acquiring a relevance that went beyond their specific local context. This chapter analyzes the electoral supply, voter turnout, electoral results, and vote shifts, focusing on a synchronic and diachronic comparison of the performance of the candidates and the parties. The evidence presented shows that despite winning the plurality of municipalities, the Democratic Party clearly paid the cost of ruling at the national level. The number of its mayors was halved, and it was defeated in Rome and Turin by the Five Star Movement, the true winner of these elections.

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Robert Rohrschneider and Michael R. Wolf

During the summer of campaign year 2002, the election already

seemed lost for the SPD/Green government. Public opinion polls

saw the governing coalition trailing by several percentage points,

whereas the CDU/CSU, together with the FDP, looked like the sure

winner. A central reason for the malaise of the red-green government

was the ailing economy. Unemployment rates hovered at the 4

million mark and would have been even higher if governmentfunded

jobs had been added to the official unemployment rates.

Consequently, a substantial majority of citizens considered the creation

of jobs Germany’s most important problem.1 This constituted

an especially severe burden for Chancellor Schröder. In 1998 he had

promised to push unemployment rates below 3.5 million or, he

stated, he did not deserve re-election. Thus, many observers and

voters expected the September 2002 election to be a referendum on

the governments’ handling of the economy. Since the chancellor had

not delivered, voters were about to vote the incumbent government

out of office.

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Philip Daniels

The fifth elections to the European Parliament were held in Italy on

13 June 1999 against a background of domestic political turbulence.

The centre-left government of Massimo D’Alema, which had

taken office in October 1998, was inherently tenuous, based as it

was on a broad, multi-party majority including several MPs who

had been elected with the opposition centre-right coalition in the

1996 national elections. At the same time, the party system was

still highly fluid: new parties and political formations were entering

the electoral arena and party identities and electoral alliances

were characterised by instability. This turbulence in the party system

was manifest in the 1999 European elections in which twentysix

parties and movements presented lists, many contesting

European elections for the first time. In contrast to the majoritarian

mechanisms used in national parliamentary and local elections,

the proportional electoral system used for European elections, with

its relatively low threshold for representation, encourages the proliferation

of party lists and offers few incentives for the parties to

form electoral alliances.

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Salvatore Vassallo

On 3 and 4 April 2005, elections were held to elect the councils of 13 of

the 15 ordinary regions. In Basilicata the election took place two weeks

later, on 17 and 18 April, to allow the Unità Popolare list to take part in

the campaign. This list had initially been barred from running because

of procedural defects in the presentation of its lists of candidates, but

it was later readmitted by the Council of State. In Molise, on the other

hand, no election was held because in June 2001 the Council of State

had invalidated the regional election of the previous year on the ground

that some lists (Democratic Union for Europe, Greens, Italian Democratic

Socialists, and Party of Italian Communists) had been allowed to

run despite not having satisfied the requirements. This required holding

a new election, which took place in November 2001.

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Enrico Calossi and Luciano Bardi

The European elections constituted the most important electoral

appointment of 2009 in Italy.1 For this reason, the electoral campaign

became embroiled in a heated discussion of major relevant national

themes. On the one hand, this was in line with what had taken place

in the preceding elections; on the other hand, with respect to the recent

past, one also observes three fundamental differences. The first is that

the elections were regulated by an electoral law that had been deeply

modified in key aspects. Second, as a consequence of these modifications,

the number of Italian parties represented in the European

Parliament was reduced from 15 in 2004 to 5 in 2009.

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Duncan McDonnell

Above all else, 2006 was a year of elections. Or, to put it another way,

it was a year of intense democratic competition, participation, choice,

and outcomes. In fact, if we extend our gaze back further, we can say

that the regional election campaigns in early 2005 marked the beginning

of an 18-month crescendo of inter-coalitional (and often intracoalitional)

competition, participation (including center-left primaries

at both national and local levels), and choice, which reached its peak

with the knife-edge outcome of the April 2006 general election and

remained on that note for two months until the constitutional referendum

held on 25–26 June.