en-es  What Comes Next for Italy?
¿Qué viene después para Italia?

Por Beppe Severgnini, The New York Times, 28 de mayo de 2018.

MILAN - Este fin de semana, el barco que transportaba el primer gobierno antieuropeo de Italia, capitaneado por un capitán aficionado y tripulado por una extraña alianza de dos partidos populistas rivales, se hundió incluso antes de que abandonara el puerto. Y aunque significa más agitación para el país, eso es algo bueno.

La Liga (anteriormente Liga del Norte), un partido de extrema derecha, y el Movimiento de las Cinco Estrellas eligieron a un erudito legal desconocido, Giuseppe Conte, como primer ministro y a un economista euroescéptica, Paolo Savona, como ministro de finanzas. Eso fue demasiado para el presidente de Italia, Sergio Mattarella, quien rechazó el gobierno propuesto el domingo. The choice of Mr. Savona, he said, posed a risk “for Italian families and their savings.” Even without Mr. Savona’s anti-European Union stance, the government was built on unrealistic promises. The 58-page “contract” that the Five Star Movement and the League had signed, after weeks of bickering, was crammed with programs worth over 100 billion euros — including an unlikely 20 percent flat tax and a guaranteed income for every citizen — that worried foreign investors. (Interestingly, the contract did not call for any sort of clash with Brussels; Mr. Savona might want to leave the euro, but the parties called for no such thing.)

In other words, the proposed government was unlikely to succeed, but it probably wouldn’t have been a disaster for the European Union, either.

The coalition’s leaders are now calling Mr. Mattarella’s decision the end of democracy in Italy, though doing so was firmly within his constitutional powers. They have threatened to impeach him, but they’ll never gather the majority of Parliament or the support of the public necessary to do so.

What now? Mr. Mattarella has asked Carlo Cottarelli, an economist and former director of the International Monetary Fund, to form a caretaker government and nudge Italy toward new elections, possibly by September.

Mr. Cottarelli’s task won’t be easy. The League and the Five Star Movement jointly hold a majority in both houses of Parliament. But will they stay together? Probably not. Minutes after their tentative government sank, they were at each other’s throat — where they have been for years, with gusto.

Is Italian democracy about to collapse, then? Of course not. Right or wrong, the financial markets and the rest of Europe were convinced that the proposed government was a fundamental threat; now that it has been sidetracked, they will do what they can to prevent its return.

But even left to their own devices, Italians are not going to rise up. We saw what happened in Catalonia, after the Spanish government blocked Catalan efforts at independence: violent clashes in the streets and a true constitutional crisis. Matteo Salvini, the League’s rowdy leader, on Sunday night threatened to rally his voters and march toward Rome, evoking the Marcia su Roma, fascism’s founding moment in 1922. But Italians — including League voters — are wiser than that, and we have rarely taken our discontent to the streets. And Mr. Salvini is no Benito Mussolini.

Whenever the next elections are held, they will be under a new electoral law, a huge improvement over the current bizarre, ineffective mix of proportional and first-past-the-post representation. Combine that with voter moodiness, and the results, regardless of where the League and the Five Star Movement stand today, are anyone’s guess.

For sure, the summer is going to be hot, even by Italian climatic and political standards. The Five Star Movement — the winner on March 4, with 33 percent of the vote — feels betrayed by the League, which refused to replace Mr. Savona with one of its own, Giancarlo Giorgetti, a solution President Mattarella would have accepted.

Their agendas are also quite different. The League is firmly on the right and is strong in the wealthy northern half of the country, where people fret about taxation and immigration. The Five Star Movement appeals more to the left, and it got most of its votes in the poorer Italian south, where voters are worried about unemployment and sloppy local government. The two parties are unlikely to stand together at the next election.

It remains to be seen whether Silvio Berlusconi, the aging, weakened but unshakable leader of the center-right Forza Italia party, will hold his nose and seek a coalition with the League. They teamed up in the last election, where the parties won 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively, only to have Mr. Salvini drop Mr. Berlusconi to try to form a government with Five Star. Mr. Salvini could woo him back, though, with a renewed promise to give Forza Italia control of the telecommunications and justice agencies, which Mr. Berlusconi deems crucial for his business and personal interests.

What about the Democratic Party, which was in power from 2013 to 2018 but was the big loser on March 4, when it polled only 19 percent? Much of its success will depend on its leader, Matteo Renzi, at 43 years old already a spent force in Italian politics. He has promised to resign to make room for the departing prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni; if he does, the party stands a chance of a comeback.

It sounds naïve to say it, but the real winners here are Italy’s voters. Thanks to their coolheaded president, they have a chance to rethink their answers to a very important question. By voting for the League and Five Star, they set Italy on a collision course with the European Union. British voters made a similarly emotional decision to leave the union, and they don’t get a second chance. Italy should consider itself lucky: A solid Constitution is better than a rushed referendum.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/opinion/italy-mattarrella-election-coalition.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region
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What Comes Next for Italy?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
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By Beppe Severgnini, The New York Times, May 28, 2018.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
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And although it means more turmoil for the country, that’s a good thing.
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What now?
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Mr. Cottarelli’s task won’t be easy.
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But will they stay together?
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Probably not.
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Is Italian democracy about to collapse, then?
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Of course not.
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But even left to their own devices, Italians are not going to rise up.
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And Mr. Salvini is no Benito Mussolini.
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Their agendas are also quite different.
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The two parties are unlikely to stand together at the next election.
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What Comes Next for Italy?

By Beppe Severgnini, The New York Times, May 28, 2018.

MILAN — This weekend the ship carrying Italy’s first anti-European government, captained by an amateur skipper and manned by a bizarre alliance of two rival populist parties, sank before it even left the harbor. And although it means more turmoil for the country, that’s a good thing.

The League (formerly Northern League), a far-right party, and the Five Star Movement had picked an unknown legal scholar, Giuseppe Conte, as their prime minister and a euroskeptic economist, Paolo Savona, as finance minister. That was too much for Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, who rejected the proposed government on Sunday. The choice of Mr. Savona, he said, posed a risk “for Italian families and their savings.”

Even without Mr. Savona’s anti-European Union stance, the government was built on unrealistic promises. The 58-page “contract” that the Five Star Movement and the League had signed, after weeks of bickering, was crammed with programs worth over 100 billion euros — including an unlikely 20 percent flat tax and a guaranteed income for every citizen — that worried foreign investors. (Interestingly, the contract did not call for any sort of clash with Brussels; Mr. Savona might want to leave the euro, but the parties called for no such thing.)

In other words, the proposed government was unlikely to succeed, but it probably wouldn’t have been a disaster for the European Union, either.

The coalition’s leaders are now calling Mr. Mattarella’s decision the end of democracy in Italy, though doing so was firmly within his constitutional powers. They have threatened to impeach him, but they’ll never gather the majority of Parliament or the support of the public necessary to do so.

What now? Mr. Mattarella has asked Carlo Cottarelli, an economist and former director of the International Monetary Fund, to form a caretaker government and nudge Italy toward new elections, possibly by September.

Mr. Cottarelli’s task won’t be easy. The League and the Five Star Movement jointly hold a majority in both houses of Parliament. But will they stay together? Probably not. Minutes after their tentative government sank, they were at each other’s throat — where they have been for years, with gusto.

Is Italian democracy about to collapse, then? Of course not. Right or wrong, the financial markets and the rest of Europe were convinced that the proposed government was a fundamental threat; now that it has been sidetracked, they will do what they can to prevent its return.

But even left to their own devices, Italians are not going to rise up. We saw what happened in Catalonia, after the Spanish government blocked Catalan efforts at independence: violent clashes in the streets and a true constitutional crisis. Matteo Salvini, the League’s rowdy leader, on Sunday night threatened to rally his voters and march toward Rome, evoking the Marcia su Roma, fascism’s founding moment in 1922. But Italians — including League voters — are wiser than that, and we have rarely taken our discontent to the streets. And Mr. Salvini is no Benito Mussolini.

Whenever the next elections are held, they will be under a new electoral law, a huge improvement over the current bizarre, ineffective mix of proportional and first-past-the-post representation. Combine that with voter moodiness, and the results, regardless of where the League and the Five Star Movement stand today, are anyone’s guess.

For sure, the summer is going to be hot, even by Italian climatic and political standards. The Five Star Movement — the winner on March 4, with 33 percent of the vote — feels betrayed by the League, which refused to replace Mr. Savona with one of its own, Giancarlo Giorgetti, a solution President Mattarella would have accepted.

Their agendas are also quite different. The League is firmly on the right and is strong in the wealthy northern half of the country, where people fret about taxation and immigration. The Five Star Movement appeals more to the left, and it got most of its votes in the poorer Italian south, where voters are worried about unemployment and sloppy local government. The two parties are unlikely to stand together at the next election.

It remains to be seen whether Silvio Berlusconi, the aging, weakened but unshakable leader of the center-right Forza Italia party, will hold his nose and seek a coalition with the League. They teamed up in the last election, where the parties won 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively, only to have Mr. Salvini drop Mr. Berlusconi to try to form a government with Five Star. Mr. Salvini could woo him back, though, with a renewed promise to give Forza Italia control of the telecommunications and justice agencies, which Mr. Berlusconi deems crucial for his business and personal interests.

What about the Democratic Party, which was in power from 2013 to 2018 but was the big loser on March 4, when it polled only 19 percent? Much of its success will depend on its leader, Matteo Renzi, at 43 years old already a spent force in Italian politics. He has promised to resign to make room for the departing prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni; if he does, the party stands a chance of a comeback.

It sounds naïve to say it, but the real winners here are Italy’s voters. Thanks to their coolheaded president, they have a chance to rethink their answers to a very important question. By voting for the League and Five Star, they set Italy on a collision course with the European Union. British voters made a similarly emotional decision to leave the union, and they don’t get a second chance. Italy should consider itself lucky: A solid Constitution is better than a rushed referendum.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/28/opinion/italy-mattarrella-election-coalition.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region