GIOVENTU » Italian Election Deadlock to drive talent abroad?

Italian Election Deadlock to drive talent abroad?

Will the uncertain government resulting from the Italian elections push more of Italy’s top talents abroad, exacerbating a trend that has affected the country for more than a decade?

Since 2007, 1.5 million people have left and 8% of the Italian population currently reside abroad, accounting for roughly 5.5 million Italians. 

Almost a million of these citizens residing abroad posted their vote in the weeks before the general election. The majority chose the Democratic Party which achieved 27.1 percent of the total, a higher proportion of that of Italians in Italy who gave Renzi’s party only 18.7 percent of their votes.

60 percent of Italian voters abroad live in Europe where the Democratic Party obtained 32 percent, the majority of the votes in large expatriate communities like Switzerland, Germany, France and the U.K. The centre-right coalition prevailed with 31.5 percent in the U.S., followed by the Democratic Party.

Out of a total of 630 deputies and 315 senators, Italians abroad elect 12 seats in the lower house and 6 in the Senate through a purely proportional system.

About one-third of the Italians living abroad are graduates and many are highly qualified professionals.

France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States are the favourite destinations. 250,000 Italians live in London which now, can be considered the fifth-largest Italian community, after Rome, Milan, Naples, and Turin. Not even Brexit has stopped the immigration flow from Italy.

Italy's March 4 election produced no majority in parliament. Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni was asked by the president to stay on until a new government was formed. Lawmakers voted to give the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement the leadership of one chamber of parliament and Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing Forza Italia the leadership of the other.

For the first time in Italian history a woman, Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, a long-time Berlusconi ally, was elected Senate president. The president of the lower Chamber of Deputies is 5-Stars' Roberto Fico.

Nevertheless, negotiations on forming a coalition government are expected to last weeks, and there is still no clear sign that either of the two biggest vote-getters, the centre-right and the 5-Stars movement, are any closer to forming a government.

In this situation of uncertainty, young people who see no clear future in Italy will probably look to other countries for better work opportunities. However, this is nothing new for Italians who are used to political uncertainty and emigration. 

Giulia Lombardo

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