Justice Minister Clemente Mastella's comment on the outcome of the second ballot of the administrative elections has been that the government "has avoided a Waterloo". Indeed, the victory for the majority in Genova, which Mastella was referring to, was quite lame: the left's candidate won by a hair's breadth in the historic "red" stronghold, leaving behind roughly ten percentage points compared to the last consultations.
Overall, the opposition has scored a four to three victory, pulling off the provinces of Lucca, Latina, Oristano, and Matera, where it conquered the city hall after years of dominance by the left.
Furthermore, if in the first round, two weeks ago, it became clear that the left had a problem in the north of the country, Prime Minister Prodi and his entourage, will now have to explain how it has managed to lose ten ballots out of thirteen in the southern region of Campania.
Indeed, losing in Genova would have been a mortal blow for the majority; Still, the general meaning of this administrative elections' results is a political defeat for the governing coalition - as admitted even by some of its own representatives – that has nothing to do with a "geographical" issue. Nor is it a physiological and passing malaise towards a government that, like any other, is obliged to make unpopular decisions. On the contrary, the proportions of the defeat and its geographical extension suggest that the ruling coalition is facing a deep confidence crisis, even among its closest supporters, clearly tired of a left too busy to deal with their internal squabbles and inadequacy to address the country's needs and problems.