Thursday, 18 April 2013

An Insult to Italy

An 80 year old, white, male, former trade union leader whose prosecution for corruption during the 1990s was halted only by a refusal of the parliamentary commission of the day to lift his parliamentary immunity has been nominated by the Democratic Party leadership politburo as the candidate agreed between Bersani and Silvio Berlusconi  for the office of Head of State in Italy.

Angels assume this proposal is a means of discovering just how bad is the collapse of discipline within the Democratic Party and between the Party's coalition members.  Unfortunately the patent inappropriateness of the nomination has shattered the loyalty even of those who were hanging in there with the Bersani leadership through  thick (and thick is the word for him and them) and thin (and there are even fewer of them now).  A cornered Bersani has made this the vote of confidence in his leadership without regard to the cost it imposes on the country.   "I have matters of my own to deal with," he is reported as saying.  A triumphant Berlusconi  has heaped mealy-mouthed praise upon the candidature he has forced upon Bersani.  So far the only thing he hasn't praised Franco Marini for  is that he too is a victim of 'politicized justice'.

The Democratic Party's principal ally - Solidarity, Ecology, Liberty - is voting for the candidate of the Five Stars.  Chosen after on-line primaries, Stefano Rodota' is a jurist of outstanding competence and  a noted defender of civil liberties - though he too is white, male and eighty years old.  Originally we had chosen a fearlessly investigative, female journalist in her fifties but she refused the nomination, saying despite the honour her skills were not those needed in the Presidency - an honesty and self-awareness that only confirmed what a great woman she is.  So the Five Stars went with the jurist who came in third; second, a wholly estimable surgeon working in theatres of war to help victims of minefields and drone-strikes, asked too that the nomination go to Rodota' as the better qualified for the role of president.

The Mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi,  who leads the sane wing of the Democratic Party has called the Bersani politburo's nomination an insult to the country.  Voting starts in Parliament at 10am.


Franco Marini is now unable to achieve two thirds of the vote at the first count.

The People of Liberty party are calling for a change of tactics by Berlusconi.

The Lega Nord agreed to vote for Marini only on the first ballot.

Almost certainly other blocs of votes for Marini, such as the Monti Civic List will start to fragment at the second ballot, which also requires a two thirds majority.

As the dirty details of the stitch-up between Berlusconi and Bersani emerge the Democratic Party is breaking up.

Further UPDATE after the second ballot.

No-one elected.  Marini now abandoned although he has not withdrawn his candidature.

The coalition Berlusconi/Bersani/Monti vote blank ballots.  The expectation is the same tactic will be used at the next ballot then, when a simple majority suffices, a new candidate will be wheeled out. 

The Democratic Party has split in two. 

Cold loathing seems to be the order of the day.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

Is Marini an EU plant?

Did he at any time work for Goldman-Sachs?

What does Merkel think of him, or Schauble? Or Lagarde or Draghi?

These are the question that need answering.

Perhaps a mighty stitch-up is waiting in the wings...

Caronte said...

Nothing to do with Europe or global governance, Yacht. Marini's only claim to office is that he is a Catholic. Bersani might as well have proposed Cardinal Bertone as a candidate Head of State.

And Marini failed to be elected at the February general election: as Renzi pointed out, the election of the Head of state is not a rescue operation for failed politicians.

hatfield girl said...

Yacht I cannot think Merkel, Schauble or Lagarde have ever heard of Marini. Draghi, yes but because he is an Italian in his sixties and will have some knowledge of him as English people interested in politics have a passing knowledge of most (including minor) politicians.

What I think might be part of the calculation is the Democratic Party - currently caged by its euro-communist faction - is trying to split its own centre vote; split it between between Catholics and lay members. Catholic centre-Democrat will vote for Marini, lay centre-Democrat will not. The EuroCommunists identify their enemy as the lay-centre Democrats, led by Renzi, against the old communist politburo.

Renzi centrists want to lose the old communist guard while the old CP want to drive out the innovatory centrists at any cost.

Does all this matter for anywhere else in Europe? Yes it's crucial for the kind of Europe we all get. Statist-authoritarian, Europe-wide wealth transfer, anti individual liberty, or a flexible, individualist union of nation states. Italy is a founder member-state with a population, economy and footprint as big as the UK's.

The kind of Europe we get will be swung by battles like those going on here.

hatfield girl said...

The Catholic centre has nowhere to go until Berlusconi is excluded from office of any kind, C. So you must be right. The Democratic party is trying (and hoping the numbers will be enough) to give the centrist Catholics something to vote for and deliver to itself a eurocommunist administration under Bersani. Clearly Marini will give Berlusconi a safe conduct and Bersani the premiership as the price of his election as head of state.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Suddenly I've come over all nostalgic for first-past-the-post.