The 2022 Italian general election: a political shock or the new normal?

Davide Vampa, Arianna Giovannini, Marco Valbruzzi

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This introduction to the special issue places the 2022 Italian general election within the recent electoral history of Italy and the broader European context. Following the same multidimensional structure adopted for this collection of articles, here we address general questions regarding the significance of the last election, its dynamics, and implications. Firstly, to what extent did it represent a change compared to previous Italian elections? Secondly, can Italy still be regarded as an anomaly in the European context? Have the 2022 results widened or narrowed the political gap between the country and its neighbours? By providing a longitudinal and cross-sectional overview, our aim is to suggest some interpretative keys, which, in conjunction with the rich data presented and discussed by the authors of each article, may enable readers to draw general lessons about recent developments in Italian and European politics. Our overall argument is that, while clearly significant in its political implications – producing the most ideologically right-wing government in republican history led by the first female prime minister –, the 2022 general election did not represent a radical change from previous Italian elections. Instead, it marked a further step in the emergence of a ‘new political normal’ characterised by volatility, fragmentation, mainstreaming of populist ideas and actors, polarisation and the reframing of socio-economic and socio-cultural cleavages. Additionally, while Italy can be regarded as the most advanced manifestation of these transformations, we observe similar shifts in most Western European countries, indicating that their seemingly unshakable stability is now in question.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalItalian Journal of Electoral Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright (c) 2023 Arianna Giovannini, Marco Valbruzzi, Davide Vampa. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. version of record will be published here:


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