Translated by Alanna Quintyne

In today’s article called “Let’s talk about politics”, I am going to explain a little bit of vocabulary precisely concerning politics. You’ll discover some words used in a figurative way and also some expressions. Ready to start learning?

During the past few weeks, we Italians have been dealing with the presidential election. However, in reality, the Italian people do not directly elect the president because we have the grandi elettori (a selected group of constituents elected by the citizens) for this!

With this we all found ourselves anxiously waiting to find out the name of the man or woman who would lead us for the next seven-year term.

It was this very important event which encouraged me to write an article relating to politics which I hope would help you all discover and learn a bit about the terminology related to this topic.

I’m sure that this article will prove itself useful to you as it involves a topical subject that you might read or hear about every day.

1. Political Parties – the Right, Left and Center

We can’t go on without giving the definition of a political party, which is a democratic organization of citizens who share the same ideas and who have a common vision of the future.

As in any respectable democracy there are various parties and depending on their ideology they can align themselves to the right, left or in the center.

In Italian they can directly be referred to as la destra, la sinistra, il centro (the Right, the Left or the Center). In addition to these, we can’t forget the center-right or center-left, in Italian centro-destra and centro-sinistra.

2. Elections, Voters and the Elected

Here are 3 fundamental words pertaining to politics

  • Elections: votes made by citizens in order to express a political preference.
  • Voters: those who go to polling stations to vote for the candidates they prefer.
  • The Elected: the politicians that have been chosen by the majority of voters to represent them.

3. Going to the Polls (Recarsi alle urne)

The locution Recarsi alle urne simply means to go to vote.

L’urna or a ballot box is a container with an opening in the upper part, in which the ballots of the vote are inserted.

4. Poltrone 

I’m sure that all of you know of the poltrona (armchair), the piece of furniture that is similar to a chair, but more comfortable.

However, this chair in its figurative sense is also a representation of the position of power, the role of power.

From this, some more eloquent expressions were born:

    • Essere attaccati alle poltrone: remaining attached by tooth and nail to the role into which one was elected, thus continuing to have their position and with it, an income.
    • Scambiare voti per poltrone: another not so positive expression, which expresses the practice in which one gives a vote to a politician while expecting something in exchange: for example, a position of prestige.

5. Super Partes

In this list we couldn’t forget this Latin locution. In fact, you know that in Italian Latin words and expressions continue to thrive and we’ve already seen this in one of my older articles.

The expression Essere super partes is no exception and its meaning is: not taking one side or the other. Basically, it indicates being impartial, just as how the president of the Italian Republic should be.


In today’s article I wanted to discuss some words and expressions relating to an ever-topical subject which I think will never go out of fashion: politics.

I hope that you found this article interesting and intriguing and that it can be useful for you all when you have to tackle a conversation about this topic.

However, before leaving you I want to show you another tidbit: a motto said by an extremely educated and shrewd politician, Giulio Andreotti, which goes,

il potere logora chi non ce l’ha!” (Power wears out those who do not have it)

and we have to admit, never was a phrase truer than this one!

ila firma

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