On the evening of Italy’s March 4 general election, Tiziana Stellato will be counting ballots in the hospital where she works. But like many disgruntled Italians, she may not even vote.
What is especially distressing to Ms Stellato is the thought of Silvio Berlusconi returning to power on the back of strong female support, as has often been the case since the former prime minister — known for his retrograde, if not misogynistic, views — entered politics in 1994.
“We are a very good people, but we don’t like change,” says the 47-year old nurse from the northern city of Parma. “We keep returning to the past.”
The outcome of the election — the next big political test for the EU as it tries to arrest the rise of populism — is wide open, with Mr Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition vying for an outright majority in parliament in a three-way battle against the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the incumbent centre-left Democratic party.
The big question in the final week of campaigning is the way undecided voters will jump: not only are they a vast army, accounting for more than one-third of the electorate, but they are disproportionately female.
“There is definitely more uncertainty and indecision among women,” says Luca Comodo, a pollster at Ipsos in Milan.
Click here to read the full article published by The Financial Times on 26 February 2018.