The autonomous Italian island of Sardinia is voting to renew its regional council and President on February 15 and 16. Sardinia, which used to be a traditionally DC region, is now one of Italy’s battleground regions in regional and national elections. In 1999, the right-wing candidate, Mauro Pili won a runoff against the left, but his coalition won 28 seats, while the left won 30 seats (out of 64). A succession of unstable centre-right governments followed, until the rich businessman (listed by Forbes as one of the richest persons on the planet in 2001) Renato Soru easily defeated Pili in the 2004 election. The left won all but one of Sardinia’s provinces in the 2005 provincial election, on the back of the right’s nationwide unpopularity. Prodi’s coalition won the island in 2006, but it voted for Berlusconi in 2008 by a considerably large margin.
Presidential election, 2004
Left (Renato Soru) 50.13
Right (Mauro Pili) 40.53
Giacomo Sanna (PSd’Az, SN) 3.77
Mario Floris (UDS) 3.64
Gavino Sale (IRS) 1.91
Regional Council, 2004
Left 6 (PRC 5, PCI 1)
Ugo Cappellacci, the PdL candidate, and son of Berlusconi’s fiscal advisor, has managed to rally the historically left-wing regionalist PSd’Az, which used to be much stronger before, but is now riven by division. He also has the support of the UDC and the right-wing regionalist parties, such as the Sardinian Reformers, a centrist outfit, the Sardinian People’s Party and the UDS.
Renato Soru, a strong-willed wealthy businessman is running for re-election. He is a rival of Berlusconi, and is seen by some as a future leader for the PD nationally. He has already said that if he led the left, he’d re-create Prodi’s 2006 coalition, which went from orthodox communists and hippies to the centre (or even centre-right).
Other candidates include Gianfranco Sollai (nats, including Sardegna Nazione), Gavino Sale (nats, IRS), as PS candidate and one other miscellaneous joke.
Mathematically, and using 2008 data, Cappellacci has the advantage, but voters vote differently in regional elections. Renato Soru is popular (Cappellacci is too, but more unknown to voters). Italy has asinine opinion polling laws, so it’s practically like Saskatchewan general elections in terms of polling out there. I’m predicting that Soru will pull it off, but I have little to back that prediction up.