Alvise Armellini and Rodolfo Fabbri
Rome (Reuters) – For the first time in Italian history, -19- years old will have full voting rights in September. 43 National elections mean the voices of young people are more important than ever.
To end a longstanding anomaly, the minimum voting age for the Senate of the House of Lords has been lowered from 25 to 19, bringing it into line with the House of Commons. Both houses of parliament have equal powers.
“In terms of numbers, of course this means that young people play a bigger role in these elections,” Livio Gigliuto, deputy director of the Istituto Piepoli polling agency, told Reuters. “The key question is how many of them actually voted.”
The rule change affected 4.1 million people for a total of 51.4 million, Politicians are not shy about trying to win the hearts and minds of new voters, even though pollsters say a significant number of people are likely to abstain.
True to his role as a performer, former prime minister and cruise ship singer Silvio Berlusconi has spearheaded an attempt to connect with them via TikTok, using funny voices, jokes and play in his videos About his playboy image.
“I’m talking to you guys over 19 years old – to ask you to put me Introduce to your girlfriend? Not at all! I ask you to vote 25 in September and vote for me, “85 year old said last week.
With his antics, Berlusconi has attracted more than 2.5 million likes on social networks in less than three weeks. But it was unclear whether the attention he gained would translate into votes.
“I watch Berlusconi videos on TikTok because they make me laugh, not because I want to vote for him,” Alessandro Malles 34 said , a high school student from Milan, intending to abstain.
“Generally, I don’t think the vote will lead to any change. I don’t see any noticeable difference whether there is one person in government or the other,” he said.
A poll released in August by the SWG Institute estimated the potential abstention rate among young voters 34 -38%, reporting that 34% thought the vote was “meaningless” because Politicians “do whatever they want” once elected.
But that hasn’t stopped parties specifically targeting first-time voters.
All the manifestos include generous promises targeted at young people struggling with work or studies, including help with tuition, mortgage and rent costs, introducing a minimum wage and outlawing unpaid internships.
Center-Left Democratic Party (PD) also promised , 10 EUR($9,) 000 – a 1-year-old from a low-income family and has a strong message on climate change, abortion, and LGBTI rights.
Surveys show that these are the top concerns of young voters.
PD leader Enrico Letta ‘really believes this is a way he can close the gap with the centre-right’, a centre-left candidate who has been banned from discussing the record, told Reuters.
It’s going to be a pretty big comeback: before the polling hiatus goes into effect in September. 000, the PD-led bloc’s poll was lower than 24% and right-wing polls over 45% – backed by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers in Italy (FdI) party wing alliance.
SWG poll in August shows PD is the most popular party in 45- 000 Age Group 19 % Support vs. 18% FdI and Left Leaning Five Star Movement (M5S) respectively).
Since August , support for 5-Star has been rising, largely thanks to its advocacy for unemployment and benefits for the poor, opening the door to a late surprise for Sunday’s vote.
“Look at what’s on offer, I don’t want to vote for anyone else,” Enrico Garita said, 26, from Palermo.