The impact of the pandemic on the Italian party system. The Draghi government and the ‘new’ polarisation

Luana Russo*, Marco Valbruzzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic dominated the agenda of Italian politics as much as it had done in 2020. Political conflicts within the parties were relegated to the background or else were heavily influenced by the debate concerning management of the health emergency. The global scale of the pandemic and the measures taken at European level to mitigate the economic impact helped first to put an end to the Conte II government and then to bring to office a government of national unity led by Mario Draghi. All the parties represented in Parliament joined the government with the sole exception of Brothers of Italy, which decided to remain in opposition. In this context, the parties found themselves having to grapple with the need to cooperate as governing partners while also maintaining their recognizable profiles. Moreover, the effective absence of the coalitions with which they had previously been associated forced the parties to consider potentially new alliances and what they would mean for future political equilibria. This article will explore the state of the Italian party system, taking as our point of departure these circumstances, which are of considerable significance both nationally and internationally. First, we shall consider the dynamics of the party system as a whole and then, in more detail, we will explore the dynamics within the main parties and their respective coalitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-190
Number of pages19
JournalContemporary Italian Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2022


  • Italian party system
  • polarization
  • Covid-19


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