Sunday, 17 March 2013

Italy Now Merely Going Through the Motions

Italy's debt has reached the highest level ever: 2,022.7 billion euros (having risen 34 billion euros since December).   The Prime Minister has been ordered not to resign by the President; the powers to do this are non-existent so we must assume that  force was applied via the usual 'offer you can't refuse' means, though what this consisted in is not (yet) known publicly.

The Parliament has finally met and Speakers for both Houses have been chosen - for the Lower House a member of the Solidarity, Ecology, Liberty party (who took 3% of the -  mad Left - vote) and for the Upper House an anti-Mafia former magistrate (because the other candidate was  the previous, Berlusconi,  Parliament's Speaker whose anti-mafia credentials leave much to be desired).  Both were elected on the fourth, simple majority, ballot;  neither have the least idea how they got there and are as surprised as the rest of us by their sudden elevation to the second and third highest offices of the Italian state.

Almost a month since the general election Italy has no government.  It's not good enough the President pretending that Mario Monti is in charge, as patently he is not.  Senator Monti told the President last week that with the Brussels meeting  his term was complete, as are his duties and his competencies.  So the only government we have is President Napolitano with most of his presidential powers removed, or in precipitous decline a month before he leaves office, and a protesting Monti  who argues (and he argued for over an hour in the presidential palace, with precedents to hand for substitutes and notable vehemence for such a mild-mannered man) that he is not a caretaker, nor a lightning conductor for the raging storm that is all that is left of Italian governance. 

Italy is  in a constitutional, political and economic catastrophe suspended only by our old friend 'Too Big to Fail'. 

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