Friday, 16 January 2015

You did ask what is going on in Italy

The multi-layered attempt to deny power to any party questioning the European Union or considering leaving the Euro as the obvious response to Italy's disastrous economic condition was initiated against Berlusconi's elected centre-right government.

Berlusconi was harried by various legal assaults for matters ranging from fraud and tax-avoidance to child prostitution.  He was finally convicted of tax-evasion. But had been assured he would be in some manner let off the hook if he resigned.  Sensibly he left office.  Napolitano imposed Mario Monti - a former EU commissioner - without dissolving Parliament, to whom Berlusconi's centre-right majority lent its votes (to get their leader through his current legal troubles).

When it became clear that no intervention was coming from on high Monti lost vote after confidence vote and Parliament coming to the end of its natural term, had to be dissolved anyway.

Unfortunately for Napolitano his own term of office was expiring too by then (we are now in 2013). 

Meanwhile the Partito Democratico had rigged its internal ballot for a new leader by excluding large numbers of those supporters who had not been party members for an inordinately long time from the ballot.  Even so, the former communist candidate Bersani failed to get through on the first ballot  and only managed on the second due to a further imposition of restrictions on who could vote:ie only those who had voted in the first round. This defeated Matteo Renzi but disgusted so many of us that we  voted 5 Star at the general election of 2013.

Renzi's voters returned a large faction to Parliament in 2013; and 5 Stars took 25% of the vote.  Clearly there was an enormous number disaffected with the Euro.  But the leader of the PD was Bersani, with the largest party and clearly the politician to be invited to try his hand at government.  He was some 7 or 8 seats short of an overall majority -a mere trifle in the context of Italian political trading of votes and coalition-forming.

The attempt to elect a new Italian president was a disaster. And the disaster was blamed upon 'faults' in the Constitution that needed 'correction'(generally in the direction of making it easier for a determined party-political elite and establishment to control the people).

Every candidate in the presidential election was brought down by some section of the electorate for the presidency.  Good, decent candidates: it was remarkable to watch.  When Romano Prodi was not elected it became clear there was another agenda in operation.

Prodi would have asked Bersani, as leader of the majority party, to form a government (Monti was caretaking the government while this was going on).  Napolitano wanted more time to impose his world view not least through choosing another prime minister not elected by us but loyal to the eurozone and the EU at any cost to Italian democracy.

By withholding (secret) votes from Prodi two goals were achieved: no Bersani government,and the impression of total democratic crisis.  Napolitano steps forward and, in defiance of all constitutional practice gets a few more years to push the powers of the presidency way beyond their accepted capacities.

His first act is to appoint Enrico Letta as prime minister: a eurocreep and nephew of a behind the scenes wheeler dealer for Berlusconi's party. Enrico Letta who sat as an MP on the extreme right of the Partito Democratico (you may have noticed him wandering around London seeking the NATO nomination after his destruction by Matteo Renzi within the PD.  Didn't get a European office either. Hah.)

Renzi destroyed Letta (E.) by winning a resounding victory in the PD as leader when Bersani had to resign having failed to even be invited to form a government.  He then simply informed Letta when he was to go as he, Renzi, held his majority (having formed a pact with an increasingly disillusioned Berlusconi, by now convicted, and evicted from the Senate) as well as leading the PD near majority in parliament too.

When he told Letta to go, Napolitano had no choice (as Napolitano bitterly  remarked) but to invite Matteo Renzi to form a government - the present government.  Renzi has long been suspect, in Napolitano's eyes and view, of denying EU precedence and the desirability of Eurozone membership.

Napolitano's antics during the Renzi government have been well out of order but he has (finally) had to go.  Now he's trying to replace himself in moves over the presidential elections on 29 January. 

It's Europe, you see.  What Italy does is central.  And we keep voting for major European change, so democracy goes out of the window.   


Sackerson said...

Wow. So complicated. Clearly the traditional view of Italians as addicted to intrigue and conspiracy is still valid.

Anonymous said...

A great post AiM.

But this is not just Italy is it? Britain, is run by a pro EU coagulation going for 42 years. Ireland, is run by the ECB-Bundesbank, as are Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Spain is a basket case only Germany is holding it up and France dances to Merkels tune because its economic model is Kaput and their banks are strapped.

Germany, is the theme but with the crisis on the eastern front bu88ering German manufacturing and Russians have billions invested in Germany. What with, the Czechs and Hungarians breaking ranks and backing Putin over the Ukraine. With Germany holding the single currency together but Draghi threatening QE - Germany's problems mean existential catastrophe for le grand projet.

Italia, needs to get back to the Lira and to start to forge its own destiny once again - before the northern states [Lega Nord] go their own separate way.
Rich Italians need to realize that many of its citizens can no longer afford the corruption, rich top slicing the pie and weilding influence wildly disproportionate to their numbers.

Or, there will be trouble.

Jeff Wood said...

The basic problem is the Euro, which is killing Italy.

Berlusconi got it. Grillo gets it. One could put up with much of their other nonsense if the underlying problem were dealt with.

A couple of uncomfortable years perhaps, but the return of the Lira would soon revive the economy and start getting the young into work, and the perpetual "interns" into salaries.

Good to see you back again, My Dear. Don't be a stranger.

buildingstoat said...

Thanks for that very detailed account. I had to read it several times to get it clear in my head - Italian politics seem so much more dynamic (although not necessarily in a good way) than our turgid lot. The EU is truly a wonder to behold when it gets down to business.