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Italy, the Northern Vote / The modernisation of Politics and the 'Northern Question'
The general election of April 9-10 re-opened the debate on the so-called ‘Northern question’. This essay analyses the political geography of Italy as it emerged from the urns and debunks some of the clichés that were circulating in the weeks leading up to the vote. The authors use empirical data to demonstrate the existence of a surprising new geographical ‘fracture’ that has split Italy for the last 15 years at least. This fracture, which brings together two seemingly different areas – the North and Sicily – and cuts them off from the rest of the country, intersects with historical fractures between economically backward southern regions and developed central and northern regions to create four Italies and an enigma. Namely, what moves Sicily closer to the North and away from the rest of the South? To answer this question, the authors focus their attention on the peculiarity of voting behaviour in the two areas and demonstrate unexpected and interesting similarities.