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Emilia-Romagna elections Sunday will check the political temperature of Italian society

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Analysis. The region, which had been “red” since the second half of the 19th century, has lost its “color,” changed its skin and become fickle and changeable like the rest of Italy.

written by Pier Giorgio Ardeni

Topic Italy

January 22, 2020

In less than a week’s time, voters in the formerly “red” region of Emilia-Romagna will go to the polls. As we all know, this will be a crucial moment that will offer a clear sign, not so much of the destiny of the current government—whatever the results may be—but one that will help us understand the direction in which our political system is going and how the orientations, values and needs of Italian society are changing.

This is the region with the highest percentage of foreigners in Italy, and also one where the “over 65s” are almost a fifth of the population. It is a region where the population is decreasing in a quarter of the municipalities, where 87% of residents live in urban areas, and where, on the other hand, a third of the municipalities have less than 5,000 inhabitants each (making up only 8.1% of residents). Furthermore, the small municipalities are the ones with the greatest presence of the elderly, the smallest presence of foreigners, and which are also the most “peripheral.”

It is a rich region, with low unemployment, where 40% of exports are going abroad (a figure that was just 15% in 1980), with a per capita income among the highest in Italy, while not at all equally distributed, on the territory or among the classes.

While the Bologna area is the richest, which is together with Parma and Modena among those with an income above the regional average, the four provinces of Romagna, together with Piacenza, are far below this average (with a 20% smaller average income than Bologna). It is a region where 70.7% of residents have incomes below €26,000 per year (in the city of Bologna, the proportion is 63.7%, while in........

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