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Italy’s Election Deadlock: Grillo Vote No Joke …

  • February 26th, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

italy-parliament.jpgResults coming out of elections in Italy on Sunday gave a narrow victory to the centre-left opposition, but only in the lower house of parliament -  raising the prospect of a deadlock and fresh elections.

beppe-grillo-wikipedia.jpgThe anti-establishment 5-Star movement of the comedian, turned serious, Beppe Grillo (picture), matched the two mainstream political groupings; its rejectionist politics –against the Euro, austerity, globalisation, tough times- proved a lightning rod for mainly younger people sick of politics-and-business-as-usual.

italy-parliament-logo.pngThe centre-left Democratic Party of Pier Luigi Bersani had given qualified assent to a continuation of tight-budget policies that would get down the price of borrowing; to reduce public debt now at 130% of Gross Domestic Product.

To get the essential majority in the Chamber of Deputies, it emerged with some 29%, a little ahead of the burgeoning Grillo group, and some 5% ahead of the centre-right Freedom People Party.

It failed to do the same for the Senate, where seats are drawn in clusters from different regions of the country, weighted by population, with the arithmetic this time going against the left.

Hopes of a coalition appeared dim with the opposition groups, rightists or Grillo, declared against any alliance.

Silvio Berlusconi
, former Prime Minister, leader of the right wing, media-man, accused in the courts of sex offences and fraud, did not worry so much about the financial accountability.

Always shrewd about public opinion, seeing the public rejection of austerity as a chance to make a come-back in government, he promised to send the voters a cash rebate on new taxes levied under war against debts.

Italians did not rally to make him a new “Duce”, but the recurrent Prime Minister of the last two decades recovered from a damaged position last year, on a wave of media publicity (in the main generated by his own, dominant holdings in the media).

Mario Monti, the outgoing “technocrat” Prime Minister, and former European Commissioner, got together a centrist formation to support his arguments to continue with budget cut-backs and taxes, for the sake of access to credit through the European Union and the European central bank.

He got 10% of the votes, to be a possible player in a coalition, but clearly weakened by the emphatic public message of the poll: no to austerity government.

Echoes of that sentiment, and the anxiety beneath, came from Spain, another large country beset by its debts and economic pain. Massive demonstrations on the weekend saw city streets clogged and protestors against joblessness in clashes with police.

With the new uncertainty, stock markets in Europe on Monday faltered a little as news of the electoral deadlock emerged; finished with prices slightly higher on the day, to slip the following day, by nearly 5% in Milan, some 2% elsewhere.

See also, EUAustralia Online: “Italy voting starts in Australia”, 6.2.13; “New political excitement in Italy”, 9.12.13.

Reference

Rachel Donaldo, (Gaia Pianigiani, Nicola Clark), “Split Vote Sends One Clear Message in Italy: No to Austerity”, NY Times, NY, 25.2.13. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/world/europe/Italy-elections.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0,(26.2.13).

James Mackenzie and Steve Scherer (Naomi O’Leary, Stephen Jewkes, Doina Chiacu), “Italy faces stalemate after election shock”, Reuters, London, 25.2.13. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/26/us-italy-vote-idUSBRE91M0EB20130226, (26.2.13).

Pictures

Grillo, Chamber of Deputies building – Palazzo Montecitorio, wikipedia

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