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Italy: A Right Political Mess

Heading in a better direction?

Sorry if I’ve been rather absent lately, but I’ve been busy with other stuff. I have, however been following Italy’s attempts to cobble together a new government, as the nation’s economy starts to flat line.

Some progress is being made, but everything is still very much up in the air, and even when the political bigwigs and Berlusconi do get their acts together, the resulting government is unlikely to last too long anyway.

Bersani, the almost, almost ran

At the moment, there is the center-left led by almost election winner Bersani who is trying to convince Italy’s President Napolitano that he can form a government which will last slightly longer than two seconds. Bersani is having a heck of a time trying to put together a team and it sounds as if the old guard factions in his PD party are bickering with the almost new guard.

The Silvio Berlusconi fan club

Then there’s the Silvio Berlusconi fan club, otherwise known as the PdL which is terrified it’s going to be left out in the cold. Even more worrying for the tanned, and now dark glasses sporting, forever legally entangled Berlusconi is that the left leaning government which may or may not end up with some form of power, is talking about introducing ban Berlusconi measures.

One new manoeuvre which could put an end to Silvio Berlusconi’s 20 year political career is a proposal to render Berlusconi ineligible to stand for election ever again owing to his never fully resolved conflicts of interest.

While Berlusconi has argued that he has resolved his conflicts of interest with regard to his Mediaset television empire, it is still evident to one and all that his television stations and newspapers are at his beck and call. You name it, and his media will do it – everything from concocting stories on his opponents to attacking commie magistrates or even inciting protests.

Berlusconi is being Berlusconi and is fighting tooth and nail to protect his own interests, even if certain members of his party party (intentional), are trying to come across as being responsible politicians who want to act for the good of Italy. In my eyes their little trick is failing, but around 8 million Italians still seem to believe Berlusconi and his mob are the solution to Italy’s ills, or rather, will help maintain the status quo from which they do very well, thank you. To hell with the young and jobless, as long as Berlusconi supporters can keep their cash and avoid letting the tax man have too much, if any of, it, they are happy.

The Grillo 5 Star Watchdogs

Right in the middle of the confused fray, is Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Movement which is scaring the wits out of all the political old guard.

Grillo’s people have already had an effect on the leftie PD party which had to dump a couple of its old guard in favor of newer faces to ensure the party ended up with speakers in both of Italy’s houses of parliament.

It was suspected that Beppe Grillo would be something of a kingmaker, and it is turning out to be true. He and his party are acting as a kind of catalyst for change – or maybe that should be an ultimatum for change. His message is either change, or go nowhere fast. Leftie leader Bersani has opted for the former and is attempting to persuade his old party to change their old ways, even if, it has to be said, he’s not getting too far particularly fast.

Bersani may end up as Italy’s new prime minister, but even this is not at all certain. As for word on who will end up in which ministerial position, nearly a month after general elections ended inconclusively, nobody seems to know who will get which job.

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Meanwhile, Italy’s president Napolitano is telling all the confused, bickering politicians to quit messing around and come up with a government for Italy.

Throughout the reign of Mario Monti, Napolitano screamed at Italy’s political class to sort out a new electoral law. They did not and have ended up being screamed at by Beppe Grillo.

The Grillo people, and there are quite a number of them in Italy’s government-less parliament, seem to want to act as a kind of parliamentary watchdog and to attempt to keep the other parties in line. While this may sound a little far fetched, it is already happening in that Beppe Grillo’s people helped prevent the Berlusconi fan club from installing one of its mob in Italy’s senate.

Unholy Proposals

What will happen is anyone’s guess and Berlusconi is trying to convince Italy’s president to form a kind of unholy coalition of his own PdL party and the leftish leaning Bersani led, for now, PD.

Mario Monti is in there somewhere, but is not gaining anywhere near as much media attention as Messrs Bersani, Berlusconi and Grillo.

All Bad for Business

Something needs to happen as businesses in Italy are shutting down right, left and center. Italians are not buying cars, or houses, and consumers are simply not consuming as much as they once did. It’s all a bit of a mess.

Changing Change

Still, around 70% of Italians do seem to want change, even if a significant chunk of the 70% are distinctly unsure change will ever actually happen. Others, also in the 70%, have given up all hope and simply won’t bother voting.

If Beppe Grillo”s magic starts working, as it is starting to do in Sicily, some of the disenchanted 70% may be persuaded to return to the polls.

Even if the Grillo effect does work, expect new elections in Italy from June onwards, unless miracles happen.

Talking of miracles, Pope Francis 1 seems to have got off to a flying start. Whether he’ll sort out the troubled RC church still remains to be seen though.

Italy is a big case of: Watch this space.

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