February 28, 2013
The elections in Italy that resulted in a hung parliament reflect a divided Italy in the context of corrupt politics, the politics of fiscal austerity imposed by finance capital in the eurozone, a shrinking economy and rising unemployment. Italy is in a crisis.
The centre-left coalition led by Pierluigi Bersani secured a solid majority in the lower chamber, but fell short of a majority by approximately 40 senators in the upper chamber. None of the parties/coalitions can reach the majority quorum of 158 in the Senate, even though Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of centre right was able to climb back. However, no party gained a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The winner of this election is undeniably the ex-comedian Beppe Grillo, whose anti-austerity, social media based 5 Star Movement received one vote for every four cast this weekend. They filled an anti politics void with Grillo’s message being explicitly against the rest of the Italian political class because they have let the country down. Who will the Star Movement support, given their demands for a renegotiation of Italy’s agreements with Europe?
Fabrizio Carmignani observes if a country achieves a steady rate of economic growth, then no draconian tax hikes and expenditure cuts are required to ensure the long-run sustainability of debt. Is there a consensus for a shift from austerity to pro growth policies?
Many of the concerns of Grillo’s supporters are shared by people across Europe in that over the last decade, trust in the EU and national governments and parliament has been on a downward trend across the continent. These movements express a desire for the idea of ‘changing’ the system, the ruling elites and the traditional ways of making policy.