The Italian vote has changed completely the European political landscape, ending what was called “the Second Republic”, which started in 1994 with Berlusconi's victory, lasted twenty years and was dominated by the tycoon. Berlusconi fell in 2011, forced to quit by European leaders when Italy was on the verge of default. Berlusconi was condemned for tax evasion and tried (trial still going on) for the bunga bunga affair. Government was then held by Mario Monti, an independent right wing professor, who cut pensions and promoted anti union measures. After that phase, followed the rising of Matteo Renzi (38) , the young pragmatic and energetic Firenze (Florence) mayor who took control of the Democratic Party (PD) with a centrist line. Renzi became Premier and his party reached forty per cent at the European elections. He promoted a referendum on Costitutional changes (mainly, the abolition of the Senate), which he badly lost. He and his entourage were involved in some nasty scandals (local banks bankruptcies, corruption, nepotism) that forced him to leave the government in 2017, while remaining PD’s party secretary. The Old Guard of PD (former Communists) stepped out and formed an electoral coalition called LEU (Liberi e Uguali), but the scene was dominated by a chain of success of the populist movement Cinque Stelle (Five Star), founded by a comedian, Beppe Grillo, on a simple group: “vaffanculo (Fuck You!) to everybody”. They elected mayors in Torino (Turin) and Roma (Rome), got the majority in Sicily, and structured themselves as a party. While Italy was slowly having a little economic recovery, the general feeling was dominated by immigration. Fear of invasion, of Islamic attacks, of the surrender of Christianity were spread every day by official and social media. This created the ascent of Matteo Salvini, and Lega, the northern movement becoming now a national movement, more and more allied with fascist organizations, under the slogan “Italians first". A proposed law - the ius soli, which gave citizenship to immigrants born in Italy - it would have been one million people - was blocked. The left was clearly scared to lose votes for protecting immigrants. The climax was reached a month ago in Macerata (old city in the Marche region, ruled by PD) where a League militant shot eight African immigrants in the city’s streets, then wappred himself in the Tricolore (the Italian flag) and waited the police with the Fascist salute. His action was justified by public opinion, and even by the Minister of Interior. No one went to visit the injured victims. Antifascist demonstrations were forbidden.
And now we come to results. PD has crashed to 18,7 (losing tha famous “Emilia Rossa”, the region that has been Communist from 1945). Cinque Stelle are the first party (32%), with peaks of fifty per cent in the South. Lega is at 18%. Old Berlusconi, who tried a comeback at 81 with his Forza Italia, was cannibalized by Lega and Fascists: got only 14%. Old left got 3%. No one has a majority in Congress. There will be coalitions. One - total fascism - would be Lega + Cinque Stelle. Another one, confused, could be Cinque Stelle + PD + LEU, only for a limited time, to permit another electoral law. Matteo Renzi has formally resigned, but doesn’t want to go away immediately. Presently, Italy is exposed to great vulnerability in the financial markets.
By the way: Steven Bannon was in Italy for the election and praised the victory of Cinque Stelle and Lega.
On You Tube you can see a very interesting piece by John Oliver just before the Italian Elections; well done, clever, and funny. Trumpists of all lands, unite!
Enrico Deaglio © 2018
Enrico Deaglio is one of Italy's best known journalists and is the author of a number of books, both non-fiction and fiction.
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The Lunch Guys are: L to R, Randy Alfred (editor & writer), Dan Hubig (artist), Jeffrey Klein (former editor of Mother Jones & West magazines), Jerry Barrish (artist & bail bondsman), Larry Gonick (cartoonist), Michael Castleman (writer), Phil Ryan (lawyer & former Freedom Summer participant), Andrew Moss (epidemiologist & writer) and Enrico Deaglio (writer).
Not pictured: Ben Christopher (Political reporter for CalMatters.org), Michael Nolan (activist & promoter), Bernard Ohanian (editor & writer), Dean
Rindy (political media consultant), Michael Singsen (lawyer), Tom DeVries (investigative journalist), Dave Moriaty (former publisher of the Austin Sun & Rip Off Press) and Frank Viviano (writer).