Italy’s short and short-lived election campaign has begun, in record heat and just before the traditional deadlock of the Italian year, Ferragosto on August 15th. All wheels usually stand still, but the campaign starts surprisingly loud and promises excitement at first glance.

Who is in a coalition with whom, who is not at all, who is possibly breaking up agreements that are only days old? The fact that it is primarily about this is due to the electoral law of 2017, which practically forces alliances even before the election. Due to necessary agreements about constituency candidates, heads and parties are forced together, which often have nothing in common but their enemy image, namely the opposing alliance. And, of course, the understandable desire to fill as many seats in Parliament as possible.

“Unfortunate”, “perverse”, yes “a disgrace”: The so-called “Rosatellum” of 2017 is rightly an unpopular electoral law. However, none of the three governments of the last legislature changed it. In the campaign this midsummer, however, the straitjacket proves to be particularly anti-democratic.

While an increasingly militant and anti-anti-fascist right is going to the elections on September 25th, what was once known as the centre-left is not only divided: the “anti-right”, as it is called in more and more commentaries, is also bidding no real alternative to the right.

The Partito Democratico (PD), which sees itself as social-democratic, has entered into an electoral alliance with its own right-wing splits, the small party of former PD leader Renzi and that of another ex-social democrat. And also joined them programmatically.

The key word here is “Agenda Draghi,” a vague substratum of the announcements that the fallen prime minister unfolded in his last speech to the Senate. PD leader Enrico Letta was late in campaigning for Italy’s small Green Party and “Sinistra Italiana” (“Italian Left”). They grudgingly joined him and his center this weekend.

The Five Star Movement, of all things, on which masses of left-wing voters had bet in the election five years ago, was completely left out. Reason? “Absolutely not with those who overthrew Draghi!” has been the battle cry of the non-right for weeks.

The worrying thing is that a social democratic – left? – The party does not write its own program, but copies one, of all things from former central banker Draghi. It also stands for the demolition of the great welfare state achievement of this legislature: citizen income. The “Reddito di cittadinanza” was a project of the five stars. Draghi wanted its revision, many fear the end of this very effective tool against growing poverty.

The electoral law has pushed the left to increasingly open to the right in the hunt for votes. Result: The welfare state, the environment, a policy against inequality are no longer on the ballot paper. Where there are no alternatives, democracy itself is undermined. This in an EU founding state – where in October the first anti-anti-fascist prime minister, Georgia Meloni of the “Fratelli d’Italia”, may celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mussolini’s “March on Rome”.