The latest electoral contest in Sicily has been widely considered in Italy as a resounding defeat for the Democratic Party, a success for the centre-right forces and, after all, a good result for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which, anyway, did not succeed in winning its first regional election. If we look at some numbers and details, however, we might get a more nuanced picture
Sicily has been for almost two decades a centre-right stronghold (at the 2001 general election, 61 constituencies out of 61 were won by the coalition supporting Silvio Berlusconi). Local government is granted a number of special powers. Moreover, a multitude of local lists and regional parties make the political landscape quite fluid and peculiar on the island. In 2012, the surge of Grillo’s party and the internal division of the centre-right (split into two different coalitions, while the Union of the Centre, a Christian-democrat party normally loyal to the centre-right and electorally strong in Sicily, changed side) led to the victory of Rosario Crocetta, the candidate of the Democratic Party-led coalition. which, however, was unable to win a majority of seats at the Sicilian Regional Assembly.
Continue reading “#Elezioni2018 – You need allies, not just votes, to win elections in Italy”
In the current year, many have feared (or hoped for) the rise of anti-EU, anti-establishment or simply radical parties or candidates (which, more than occasionally, turned out to be radical right parties) in countries such as France or the Netherlands. According to some commentators, this would have led, in the long run, to the disgregation of the current ‘liberal’ order, at least in Europe, and to the collapse of the European Union after the Brexit blow in 2016. However, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen did not succeed and the European project has not been hit further.
I thought, anyway, that many would have turned closer attention to Italy by now, as it seems the most likely potential target for anti-EU forces, but, apparently, it did not happen – wrongly, in my opinion. There are two factors, indeed, that make Italy a target for anti-EU’s’ appetites. First, after two decisions of the Constitutional Court in 2014 and in 2017, and the referendum held in December, Italy now has a substantially PR voting system both for the lower house and the Senate – remember: both have equal powers. This means that coalitions are almost necessary to rule the country. Second, no natural coalition seems likely to win a majority of seats: both a potential centre-left and a potential centre-right coalition look unable to attract more than 30%-40% of votes, while the Five Star Movement rules out any form of alliance with other parties.
Continue reading “#Elezioni2018 – A potential anti-EU coalition in Italy?”
Yesterday EUROPP, the London School of Economics blog on European politics and policy, has published my opinion about the next Italian referendum. I tried to explain why criticism is exaggerated and the reasons for which, instead, the proposed reform should be backed.
A couple of days ago I finished watching the third season of Black Mirror on Netflix. I must say that it was pretty good, but, perhaps not as good (and, sometimes, frightening) as the previous seasons. However, as I already experienced with the episodes produced by Channel 4, I sometimes got the sense that what I was watching on my screen was not just a bleak premonition of the near future or, just as many viewers, commentators and even Charlie Brooker itself put it, the logical outcome of the current technological and social developments led to the extreme, but that it was also something that already happened or that is happening right now. Continue reading “Is Black Mirror already happening?”
One of the things which may mark the success or the (at least partial) failure of Matteo Renzi’s cabinet is the constitutional bill which is going to be debated by Italian senators during the next few weeks and very likely voted around mid-October.
Despite some positive figures in recent weeks, there are still many ups and downs as regards Renzi’s record on the economy and social issues. His school reform has just started being implemented and we will see if it will prove itself to be popular or not. His coalition is divided on a bill introducing civil unions while immigration and refugees crisis make the headlines in Italy just as in many other European countries. However, there is an area in which Renzi may in less than a year time reach his objectives and, perhaps positively, mark his government experience: constitutional reform. The new electoral law of the Chamber of Deputies (Italy’s lower house) has already been approved four months ago, and it will come into force in July 2016. I am a bit critical of this law because a) it is majority assuring under any possible circumstance (a thing that is impossible in any major Western country, as far as I know) and b) because I have a preference, for a number of reasons, for single-member constituencies.
Continue reading “Could Matteo Renzi leave a legacy as a constitutional reformer?”
There is a different view, however, which is starting to emerge within the left – at least in the left opposing Italy’s Democratic Party, which is not a socialist or a social democratic party, although being the largest one in the socialist group in the European Parliament and being a member of the Party of European Socialists. Indeed, the current Italian prime minister and Democratic Party leader, Matteo Renzi, wouldn’t be a member of any socialist or social democratic party under the old Italian party system
in the so-called First Republic, as he would probably rather be a leftist Christian democrat.
Continue reading “The nationalistic anti-EU drift of the Italian radical left”