by Daniele Scalea

Results

Voting has taken place for the by-election to the Chamber of Deputies of the uninominal College Lazio 1-01, that is the one that includes the center of Rome (about 185 thousand inhabitants) plus the districts of Trionfale, Flaminio and Vittoria (which together make up the north-west part of the capital and have about 90 thousand inhabitants). The election was necessary because its deputy, Roberto Gualtieri (PD), in turn elected in a by-election in 2020, has meanwhile become mayor of Rome. The final result is as follows:

  1. Cecilia D'Elia (Democratic Party) elected with 59.43% of the vote (12,401)
  2. Simonetta Matone (Center-Right) 22.42% (4687)
  3. Valerio Casini (Renzi's Italia Viva) 12,93% (2698)
  4. Beatrice Gamberini (far left) 3,24% (676)
  5. Lorenzo Vanni (civic) 1,97% (412)

Just over 21,000 voters cast their ballots, equal to 11.33% of those eligible.

Constituency electoral history

To better frame this result, it is necessary to look at past results in this area of Rome. The constituency was established in 2017 with the Rosato Act, but it roughly corresponds to the three uninominal constituencies of Roma Centro, Roma-Trionfale and Roma-Della Vittoria, which were established in 1993 with the Mattarella Act and remained in effect until 2005. Here is a summary of the results in these constituencies:

Year/Constituency Rome city-center Rome Trionfale Rome Della Vittoria
1994 Silvio Berlusconi (right) 46,29% Francesco Storace (right) 49,85% Gianfranco Fini (right) 51,76%
1996 Walter Veltroni (left) 49,91% Francesco Storace (right) 49,61% Gianfranco Fini (right) 53,53%
2001 Giovanna Melandri (left) 50,04% Giovanni Alemanno (right) 48,25% Gianfranco Fini (right) 52,61%

From 2005 to 2017, under the Calderoli Act, no uninominal constituencies were in effect. These are the results of the two previous elections (the second is a by-election) held in Lazio College 1-01 plus the results of the first round for the election of the president of the Municipality of Rome 1 (Centro) and Rome 14 (Trionfale and Della Vittoria) last year:

Year/Candidate First Second
2018 (Chamber) Paolo Gentiloni (left) 42,05% Luciano Ciocchetti (right) 30,81%
2020 (Chamber) Roberto Gualtieri (left) 62,24% Maurizio Leo (right) 26,08%
2021 (Municipality 1) Lorenzo Bonaccorsi (left) 40,06% Lorenzo Santonocito (right) 27,37%
2021 (Municipality 14) Domenico Naso (right) 35,80% Marco Della Porta (left) 33,04%

Analysis

We are in front of an emblematic case of how, during the last thirty years, the vote of exclusive areas of the metropolis has moved from the Right to the Left. It is also a textbook example of how, in case of low turnout (to the minimum in both House byelections), the Right pays much more than the Left: the terribly low result of Simonetta Matone seems more due to that than to a weakness of the candidate herself (who last year, in the city council elections, had obtained an excellent haul of personal preferences).

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Both of these tendencies derive from the weakness of the Right in terms of opinion voting. If many votes are no longer obtained in the "high" districts because the Left is the spokesman for the interests of those who enjoy socio-economic pre-eminence, the Right could make up for this by leveraging moral and ideal values. The low mobilization of the electorate of the Right denounces, likewise, a low ideal motivation.

Obviously, all of this is weighed down by a difficult moment for the Centre-Right, with deep divisions over fundamental choices - from support for the Draghi government to repressive measures against the "non-conformists" of the anti-covid regime - and the unclear line taken by some forces, which it is not clear what political position they wish to assume in the long term. In first-past-the-post elections, the selection of the political class also plays a role. Finally, we must not forget the most neglected factor, but perhaps the most important of all: the absence of a coherent ideal message, a vision of the world and a doctrine proposed to citizens. There can be no vote of opinion if the Right has no opinion (let alone vision) on the great problems of our time.

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Founder and President of Centro Studi Machiavelli. Graduated in Historical Sciences (University of Milan) and PhD in Political Studies (Sapienza University), he is professor of "History and doctrine of jihadism" and "Geopolitics of the Middle East" at Cusano University. From 2018 to 2019 he was Special Advisor on Immigration and Terrorism to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Guglielmo Picchi. His latest book (as editor) is Topicality of sovereignism. Between pandemic and war.