Municipal elections in Vibo: fragmentation and the unknown of the disjointed vote


By John

The voting date is approaching: Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June the citizens of Vibo Valentia (the only provincial capital to vote in Calabria) will be called to elect the new mayor and the new municipal council.

An important electoral appointment with national implications in a mass of local movements typical of local elections. Four candidates for mayor in the field, 3 coalitions plus a far-left list for a total of 16 lists presented and almost 500 candidates for the position of councilor ready to battle. With a population of around 31 thousand inhabitants, the risk of fragmentation is very high. Six lists in support of the center-right candidate Roberto Cosentino, five in support of the center candidate, Francesco Muzzopappa, four in support of the center-left candidate, Enzo Romeo, one in support of the Rifondazione Comunista candidate, Marcella Murabito.

Risk of fragmentation

In a geo-electoral context that very often rewards not skills and/or ideals, but family belonging, voting in Vibo, as well as in many other local contexts from North to South, risks turning into a vortex in which the clientelistic and familial vote reigns supreme. There is also a high risk of vote dispersion with 16 lists in the field and almost 500 candidates. But the most interesting variable that could trigger a dispute in the runoff is that linked to the split vote.

What is split voting

The legal provisions relating to municipal elections allow the so-called split vote, which consists in the possibility of attributing one's vote to a mayoral candidate and to a list that supports another and different mayoral candidate. Example: the voter makes a cross on the ballot paper voting Mario Bianchi for the office of mayor, but will then express his preference for a councilor candidate from the “X” list candidate in the coalition of the mayoral candidate Luigi Verdi.

The history of the disjointed vote in Vibo from 2010 to today

In a quadripolar competition (also taking into account the mayoral candidate Marcella Murabito), the split vote represents a variable that is perhaps decisive for the outcome of the vote. A high use of disjointed voting could decide the fate of the electoral competition when the electorate (for a series of reasons) does not show linearity in the choice between candidate for councilor and candidate for mayor. It is a fairly common practice and the voter has now shown that he has a certain familiarity with this tool. To try to understand what could happen on 8 and 9 June, it is a good idea to go and see what happened in the last electoral rounds: in this case from 2010 to today. We will show you the data obtained from the candidate for mayor and related lists.

Municipal elections 2010

Michele Soriano centre-left: 41.12% (9,017 votes), the center-left lists took 47.78% (10,244 votes). Therefore, the Soriano candidate received over six percentage points less than the lists, over 1200 votes less.

Nicola D'agostino centre-right: 28.71% (6,296 votes), the center-right lists took 25.15% (5,413 votes). Therefore, the candidate D'Agostino received over three percentage points more than the lists, 883 votes more. There was a runoff and D'Agostino won with 59.26% and 9,738 votes in absolute terms.

Municipal elections 2015

Elio Costa centre-right: 50.80% (10,327 votes), the center-right lists took 50.37% (10,115 votes). In this case Costa was elected in the first round and, essentially, there was a clear correspondence between the lists and the mayor with Costa garnering 212 more votes.

Antonio Lo Schiavo centre-left: 37.26% (7,574 votes), the center-left lists took 39.13% (7,857 votes). Lo Schiavo got almost two percentage points less than the lists.

Municipal elections 2019

Maria Limardo centre-right: 59.54% (11,219 votes), the center-right lists took 65.47% (12,274 votes). Therefore, the mayoral candidate Limardo got almost six percentage points less than the lists, 1,055 votes less. In any case, Limardo won in the first round.

Stefano Luciano centre-left: 28.19% (5,312 votes), the center-left lists took 27.22% (5,103 votes). Therefore, the candidate Luciano took almost one percentage point more than the lists and more than 200 votes in absolute terms. It should be underlined that five years ago there was no Five Star Movement in the centre-left which participated in the electoral competition with its own list and its own candidate for mayor, Domenico Santoro. The latter took 10% with 1900 votes in absolute value, four percentage points more than the list and 775 votes more in absolute value.