The results of the 2018 general election were shocking. Although main competitors were the same as in 2013 (the centre-right coalition, the centre-left coalition, and the M5S), high uncertainty surrounded the electoral outcome because of the application of a new electoral system, and polls data indicating the competitiveness of the multiple political formations and the high number of undecided voters.
For the first time in Western European history, a successful debutant was able not to lose votes in the following election – the 2013 M5S was actually the most successful debutant in Western Europe since the end of WW, and it gained over 7 percentage points, coming just short to one third of the votes. At the same time, the LN reached its best results in history, with 17.3% of the national votes. Thus, these two challenger parties combined received over 50% of Italian votes, while the two former big parties, national wings of the major EP party families, both saw their historical lows, summing to less than a third of the votes. The election resulted in a hung Parliament. The centre-right coalition was first, but far from a majority of seats. The M5S was the most-voted party, finishing second, closed behind the centre-right. The centre-left was outdistanced.
In this article we describe and discuss the 2018 electoral results and its strange, largely unexpected outcome. More specifically we look at the voter turnout and the results of the vote, both at the overall national level and with their geographical articulations, comparing and contrasting them with Italian electoral history – and 2013 results in particular. Finally, we conclude by analysing survey data and vote shifts between 2013 and 2018, to assess the electoral dynamics generating the described results.