The 2012 municipal election in Palermo produced an unexpected outcome.
In the Sicilian city – for a long time a conservative stronghold – the center-right candidate,
Massimo Costa did not succeed to reach the second ballot and the election was won
by the former Major Leoluca Orlando, supported by a radical left coalition. Orlando
prevailed with a sensational 72% of the vote share against the winner of the center-left
primary elections, Fabrizio Ferrandelli.
What happened in the 2012 Palermo municipal election? Does the Sicilian capital moved
suddenly toward the left? Which factors fostered this sharp and unpredictable electoral
change that altered the long-time-established political landscape of the City?
To answer these questions, the article analyzes the results of the 2012 municipal election
in Palermo through an electoral geography approach and the use of a quantitative methodology
with ecological data. In particular, the article makes use of both the territorial
study of turnout and election results and the voting ecological estimates generated with
the traditional Goodman model.
The empirical analysis shows that this election was strongly influenced by factors linked
to the local context more than by authentically political ones. In other words, Palermo
did not move toward the left. Moreover, the internal electoral segmentation of the City
between central and peripheral neighborhoods persisted as the main determinant of the