Naples by-election to fill vacant seat puts Five Star Movement to the test

Italy will hold a by-election in Naples today for a Senate seat left vacant by the death of a member

senate vote italy

Photo: AP/Antonio Calanni

Italy will hold a by-election in Naples today for a Senate seat left vacant by the death of a member of the ruling anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) party.

With 176 senate seats, the majority held by M5S Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s coalition government in the upper house will not be troubled by any loss in this election. However, opposition Forza Italia’s win in the neighbouring Calabrian regional elections on January 27 will likely give the centre-right bloc confidence of winning the seat.

A loss for the M5S will continue their electoral demise. The party only secured 6% of the vote in the recent Calabrian election and 4.7% in the northern Emilia Romagna election.

However, as M5S electoral defeats pile up, more pressure is likely to be placed upon the Democratic party to become more prominent in coalition politics and carry its policies in an effort to stabilise still dire polling numbers for the government. Although Conte is not expected to call early elections, further M5S losses in a series of regional and by-elections this year will put pressure on MS5 parliamentarians to resign or defect. This may, in turn, force its members to quit the government in an effort to reorganise the party from the opposition benches.

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