The Italian political system has undergone significant changes over the past two or three decades. One of the most interesting attempts to interpret this change draws on the notion of populism. In Italy, as in many other countries, the electoral success of populist parties and movements has attracted considerable attention. This paper aims to assess whether the ascent of these political forces corresponds to the diffusion of ‘populist’ opinions and attitudes amongst citizens. In the first part of the paper, the crisis of the party-dominated Italian political system is analysed, and the conditions in which populist formations gained acceptance are described. The new political actors are introduced, with particular emphasis on their populist traits. The second part of the paper assesses whether certain elements of populism are shared by Italian citizens, including proximity to political parties, trust in representative institutions, the need for a strong leader and attitudes towards immigrants. In addition, based on the assumption that populism is a thin ideology, which can be integrated with strong and structured ideologies, the hypothesis that different forms of populism can be identified within the electorate, in line with their position on the Left-Right spectrum, is examined. Feelings of aversion towards political parties are relatively widespread within the electorate, whilst antipathy towards immigrants is most marked amongst right-wing sympathisers. The need for a strong leader appears to be shared by voters, and this perception also includes those who identify with the Left.
|Titolo:||Populism and the Italian Electorate: Towards a Democracy without Parties?|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1.2 Articolo su rivista con ISSN|