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Italian politics without veils: beyond the attack at the Prime Minister

Με τον Πρωθυπουργό, κο Κωνσταντίνο ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ.
Greek Prime Minister
Image by AthenaKorka

Italian politics without veils: beyond the attack at the Prime Minister

The last material attack at Mr.Silvio Berlusconi has raised among Italian politics a strong debate on the “climate of hate” that has been created against the Prime Minister and his government. Actually, the smash on Silvio’s face is a good representation of Italian politics, nevertheless not of this imaginary “climate”, but rather of a political and economical impasse.

The decision of the Constitutional Court on the so called “Lodo Alfano”

In October, the Italian supreme Court had to pronounce itself on a law (better known has “Lodo Alfano”) which has passed in the Italian Parliament. Basically, the Lodo Alfano is a set of regulations which would have allowed the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the President of the “House of Commons” to continue their mandate if charged of allegations by freezing the trial till the end of their office.

Unfortunately nothing new to Italian politics, this time the difference has been played by the Supreme Court which has declared illegitimate this regulation on the grounds of the Constitution. This very decision has created high tensions both in the leading coalition, which has accused the judges of having expressed a political opinion and in the opposition, which has perceived the bill as the umpteenth attempt to preserve the Prime Minister from a trial. In this context the mad man has kicked in raising the debate on the already abused rethoric of “hate”.

The effects of the financial crisis

Italy has not been affected by the financial crisis as other EU economies. Its relatively closed and cautious credit system has allowed to smooth its impacts. In addition, Italians traditionally invested on the real estate market to grant themselves the property of an house. These particularities of the Italian system have thus allowed to circumvent some of the yet well known harmuful economic dynamics.

Nevertheless, Italy has not yet been able to solve a number of problems which have been lasting for years before the turmoil. The lost of competitiveness due to the introduction of the euro, the lack of coordination between the educational system and the economic one, some fiscal imbalances as tax evasion and the division of the country between the developed north (and, in some cases, also the centre) and the south are still evident.

For more information you can consult the Le monde site  http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2009/12/24/l-italie-voit-un-signe-de-declin-dans-l-expatriation-de-ses-jeunes-diplomes_1284583_3214.html

In addition, the sum of this structural problems and the impact of the crisis have led the credit system to act cautiously. As a result, Italy is suffering from a lack of confidence and firms, especially small and medium, are facing great difficulties to gather liquidity, notably not a secondary problem in order to challenge the future.

Furthermore, the country’s public debt has not allowed the governament to support the economy as it has occured elsewhere.

The discrepancies between politics and society

The Italian political system, as others, is suffering of a lack of adherence to the society’s needs. Nevrtheless, Italy has the particularity of concentrating and personalising the debate. The figure of Silvio Berlusconi and the cotroversies on its conflict of interests couple with an opposition which, for various reasons, is not able to conquer consensus have made non parliamentary movement emerge.

The so called “V-day” created by a comedian, Beppe Grillo, and the recent “No Berlusconi day” have been only partially organised by opposition political parties. A wave of the so called “anti-politics” movement (essentially civil movements not lead by any party represented in the parliament) has grown. If someone would like to deep the issues can consult the Economist site: http://www.economist.com/Countries/Italy

In few words, the political parties have not only been able to attract nor the agreement and neither the disappointment mostly due to the stagnation of structural reforms which are urgently needed.

Roughly speaking, Italy can be described by the comparison with the Greek and the German case. The country is in fact in the middle of a storm which could theoretically led to both a political situation in which great a coalition politics could be highly beneficial or to a situation in which social conflict and controversies are about to explode. 

There is no need to remind the various theories which claims that the current world-wide division of labour is challenging the economic an social stability of many advanced economies, as a result Italy is now forced to find its path to manage properly these phenomena. The attack to Silvio is thus just the tip of the iceberg of what is actually occurring in the Bel Paese.

Με τον Πρωθυπουργό, κο Κωνσταντίνο ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ.
Greek Prime Minister
Image by AthenaKorka

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