For those who read Euro News, this seems like a normal “Dog Bites Man” story about Italy, but there’s more to it this time…
The 1950’s called and asked for their headlines back – As long as I’ve been old enough to read the front pages of the (British) newspapers, the Italian governments have been the butt of jokes: “Italians Struggle To Form Government,” “Italian Coalition Falls Apart After 6 Months,” “Fresh Elections Called In Italy…”
But it IS different this time, as we see the will of the people clearly expressed through three generally right-wing, populist, parties: Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star, the (Northern) League, and Forza Italia, for a disengagement from the EU and a rejection of open borders. After some wrangling over details of their coalition platform, they picked academic Giuseppe Conte to be Prime Minister and form a government, and they started to name ministers.
In keeping with their platform, the coalition picked Paolo Savona, an 81-year-old economist and former Bank of Italy official, who won over the 5 Star and the League for strongly euroskeptic views, as the Economy Minister. That, unfortunately, was the last straw for the pro-EU Elites, including President Sergio Mattarella, who reject EuroSkepticism and are willing to blow up the election results, and probably the mood of the People as well.
The President is widely believed to have overstepped his constitutional bounds by rejecting the coalition’s proposed cabinet, and asking Carlo Cottarelli, a former International Monetary Fund official, to attempt to form a new government. Bear in mind that the majority of the People want less involvement with the EU, and that the popularity of both the 5 Star and League parties has risen further since the election, and you can see why this attempt to thwart the will of the people is likely to end in failure – the populist parties and their voters are already calling for new elections, less than three months after the last ones.
Are the elites really willing to risk the wrath of the people and an unstoppable majority for the populists by effectively appointing the IMF to run the country? It seems so. The Euro Roach Motel – you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave!
Listen to the anger of the coalition members here (Source, WSJ):
“We were ready to govern and we were told ‘No’,” said 5 Star leader Luigi Di Maio Sunday evening. “This is unacceptable. This is an institutional clash unseen before.”
Mr. Di Maio said he plans to make a request in parliament to have Mr. Mattarella impeached for allegedly betraying the state. A spokesman for Mr. Mattarella declined to comment.
On Sunday, Matteo Salvini, the 45-year-old leader of the League, suggested Italians should now go back to vote.
“If we have a minister who is not appreciated in Berlin, it means he’s the right minister … In Italy, Italians decide,” Mr. Salvini told supporters Sunday. “In a democracy — if we are still in a democracy — there’s only one thing to do: Let the Italians have their say.”
I’ll add one footnote: In an echo of the Greek (almost) revolt against the EU, as well as being Eurosceptic, Paolo Savona is somewhat to the left of Bernie Sanders on economic theory, universal income and more!