This is the moment of truth for Italy. The first round of municipal elections will be held in many Italian municipalities, including Milan, Turin, Bologna, and Naples on June 5. The most important political game, however, especially on a national level, will take place in Rome. It has been a two-speed campaign: the one in the media – which consisted in skirmishes between the various candidates instead of content for Rome -, and the door to door campaign, with countless meetings everyone organized both in the city and outside of it. Behind the vote, there is also the shadow of the “referendum” on the work of the government, which makes the axis shift from an Administrative to a political level. The most likely hypothesis is the ballot; there are four candidates who oscillate between 15% and 25% of approval. It is unlikely that Virginia Rays from the Movement 5 Stars, Roberto Giachetti, the candidate of the Democratic Party (center-left), Giorgia Meloni from Brothers of Italy, supported by Northern League (right), and Alfio Marchini, i.e., the civic candidate supported by Forza Italia (center-right, the ‘moderates’), can prevail over 50%. Besides, there is the variable represented by the leftist candidate Stefano Fassina, as well as a large group of minor candidates.
On June 5, people will vote in ordinary regions, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Sardinia, and Sicily. For the round of balloting, we will return to the polls on June 19. Several dates have been identified in Trentino-Alto Adige, where people voted on May 8, and in the Valle d’Aosta where one sole city voted on May 15. In total, 1,363 municipalities will go to the polls, 1,175 of which belong to ordinary regions and 188 to the special regions. We signal that people will elect the first mayors of the twenty-six new municipalities established in 2016, through the merger of administrative processes. With the renewal of the Committee and the municipal councils of the regions under a common statute will apply the rules on the expenditure containment of the local authorities, which includes the reduction of the number of councilors and municipal councilors.
1,342 municipalities will go to the polls, including 25 provincial capitals and 7 regional capitals, that is, 13,316,379 voters: 6,382,798 men and 6,933,581 women. 18,318 young people who have just come of age will vote for the first time: 9,847 young men and 8,471 young women. The elections in the 1,175 municipalities of the ordinary regions concern 12,085,890 voters: 5,788,827 men and 6,297,063 women. Also 46,781 E.U. citizens who reside in Italy and have asked to vote, will partake in the municipal elections as well. The municipality with the largest electorate is Rome: 2,363,776 voters: 1,110,576 men and 1,253,200 women. The ‘smallest’ municipality is Morterone (Lecco) with 31 voters (17 men and 14 women) and one sole civil list. The first mayors will be elected in 10 new municipalities, which result from the merger in Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna. The vote will last one day – Sunday – from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
As for the cost, there are roughly three categories: Public Safety, and operational costs for materials and reimbursements for the office components of each polling station. The first one comprises the salary and overtime to be paid to law enforcement, which counted a massive mobilization during the political elections 2013: 40,000 policemen and about 20,000 more men provided. The second one is most substantial, according to information provided by the Interior Ministry: installation costs, fitting cabins, propaganda costs, reimbursement of travel expenses to the voters and a number of items regarding the preparation and data collection. As for the administrative office remuneration provided in each voting center, according to the rules, the chairmen of the polling stations will receive 150 euros, plus reimbursement expenses for meals and the hotel in case they need to go offsite to chair the venue. Similarly, a refund is provided for tellers (2 to 4 in every venue) and secretaries (1 for each venue). The figure is 120 euros and similar expenses are expected also for accommodation and 2 meals a day.
But how do you vote? There are two different modes, depending on whether the municipality counts less or more than 15,000 inhabitants. In municipalities with less than 15,000 inhabitants, vote with take place with one sole form to elect both the Mayor and city councilors. Each candidate for the office of Mayor will be accompanied by the electoral list that supports him/her, composed of candidates for the board. The mayoral candidate’s name is already printed in the form, along with the list that supports them. The vote for the Mayor and the one for the Council are merged: voting for a candidate for mayor means giving a preference to the list that supports her/him. The candidate who gets most votes will be elected mayor. In case of a tie between two candidates, there will be a second vote (ballot) concerning the two of them next Sunday. Again he is elected which of them will have the most votes. In case of further tie, the eldest will be declared elected. Once the mayor is elected, also the Council will be decided: the list that supports the mayor will be given 2/3 of available seats and the remaining seats will be distributed proportionately among the other lists.
In municipalities with over 15,000 inhabitants, there will be only one form as well, on which are already listed the names of the candidates for the office of Mayor and next to each one of them, the symbol or the symbols of the lists that support it. Citizens can vote in three different ways: 1. making only on the symbol of a list, giving their preference to the list and the mayoral candidate it supports; 2. with a mark on the symbol of a list, with the possibility to indicate a double gender preference. This possibility, in case of the citizens of municipalities with over 5,000 inhabitants), allows to express two preferences for municipal councilors provided that they concern candidates of different sex who belonging to the same list, marking, at the same time, the name of a candidate for mayor, who is not connected to the voted list: by doing so you get the so-called “disjoint vote”; 3. Marking only the name of a mayoral candidate, voting only for the candidate, not for the list or lists connected to him/her.
In municipalities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, the candidate who obtains an absolute majority of valid votes (at least 50% plus one) is elected mayor in the first round. If no candidate reaches this threshold, there will be a second vote next Sunday to choose between the two candidates who have obtained the highest number of votes in the first round (ballot). In case of a tie in the first round, the candidate of the most voted list (greater electoral number) will be admitted to the ballot and, in case of a further tie, the eldest will be admitted (the same criteria will be used in case of a tie in the ballot). In the second round, is the candidate who gets the highest number of votes is elected Mayor.
To determine the composition of the Council, the election results of the first round and any further links in the second will be taken into account. In practice, if the list or set of lists related to the elected mayoral candidate in the first or second round does not achieve at least 60% of the seats, but obtain at least 40% of votes in the first round, it will automatically receive 60% of the seats. The remaining seats will be divided among the other lists in proportion to the preferential votes obtained.