A lone man in Rome – understanding the italian crisis

34 days after italian general elections we’re still without a new national government, exposed on the international financial markets in a weak position, punished by a downgrade on our national debt by the three major rating agencies. Two months from now we will have new problems to face like a programmed raise of our VAT level (from 21% to 22%), a change in the composition of a number of taxes (will add more pressure to a very high level) and a number of little and big challenges to stand as a country in order to stabilize our economy.

In a few words, we need a national government. A strong one to be sure.

By italian laws a new government got to have a majority vote in both houses of our parliament (it’s called “fiducia”, trust). The main reason of the mexican standoff we’re living is that we do not have a majority of the same political sign in both houses. In the “Camera dei Deputati” (House of Representatives) we have a center-left coalition in full control, at the Senate we have four different group (center-right, center-left, Scelta Civica and Movimento 5 Stelle) with a situation of mutual vetoes. So far no agreement has been possible. By the same laws is not possible to start a “minority government” or to maintain in charge the current government and start a parliamentary-driven program of activity.

Giorgio Napolitano

Giorgio Napolitano

This is a deadlock and the only way out is to set up for a new round of national elections, hoping for the best to get a new, stable, political composition of our Parliament. The decision of calling for a new round is in the hands of our President of the Republic and here comes a different problem. For the rules set in our Constitution a President is to stay in charge for a seven-year period and the current President, Mr. Giorgio Napolitano, is at the end of his mandate. In the last six months of his mandate, the so-called white semester, a President cannot do the call for new elections. So we got another deadlock.

The President is also the man in charge to designate a new premier; Mr. Napolitano already choose Mr. Pierluigi Bersani (center-left coalition) and two days ago he received his negative response about the chance to form a new government. For the sum of the mutual political vetoes it looks like there is no choice at all to find another good candidate for the premiership. This is the final deadlock, the red sigil on a bad situation. There are a few chances left to solve this riddle, maybe the worst of  our recent history.

Mr. Napolitano could resign from his role. That will oblige the Parliament to elect his successor and the new President of the Republic will have his/hers full set of powers, including the call for a new election round. At the end of his long political career it will be a sad moment for our President, even in the light of the common good. It’s not easy to step down from the highest task, such a decision will have the taste of a defeat in it. My opinion is that Mr. Napolitano will do that, he will resign to help his country once again.

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