The reasons for the unstable Italian political maze

From 1994 until today, Italy has accumulated 16 governments and ten prime ministers: Berlusconi, Dini, Prodi, D’Alema, Amato, Monti, Letta, Renzi, Gentiloni and Giuseppe Conte. The latter the head of State, Sergio Mattarella, could entrust these days the formation of a new Executive. It would be the third of this legislature. In the last 27 years in Spain there have been five presidents of the Government (González, Aznar, Zapatero, Rajoy and Sánchez), the same as in France, while the palm of European stability goes to Germany, with only three foreign ministers since 1994: Kohl, Schroder and Merkel.

What happens in Italy so that there is a government crisis approximately every year and a half? Experts agree on three reasons that contribute to instability. The first is the proportionality of successive electoral laws, which cause fragmented parliaments in many parties, thus making governance difficult. In second place is the internal weakness of the political forces themselves, always shaken by struggles of egos and with little control of the leaders towards their senators and deputies. Defections, jacket changes and impossible alliances are a common weapon to bring down a government. And, finally, it weighs how heterogeneous Italians are from a political point of view.

Here everyone wants their own party. It is a deeply rooted sentiment in society that the electoral system has never bothered to curb, ”explains Luigi Curini, professor of Political Science at the Milan State University. In his opinion, it is not surprising that in the midst of the pandemic Matteo Renzi withdrew his small party from the government coalition, which led to Conte’s resignation. «These crises are something inherent to Italian politics. It is not a surprise, but a constant in a system that nobody wants to change, “he denounces.

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«In this country there are not two rival majority parties as in other nations and you know that one or the other governs. Here we have a block of right-wing formations that, when in power, hinder each other. And in the center-left you have the Democratic Party, always tormented by its internal divisions, “says Mario Bertolissi, professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Padua, who criticizes the” extremely low profile “of the current political class. «The old forces such as the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party had a strong territorial presence that weighed on when choosing their positions. Now, however, it is difficult to find experienced professionals or administrators who accept an application. The ones we have are incompetent.

The prospects for the future are not very rosy either. In his last appearance in the Chamber of Deputies, Conte promised a new electoral law of a more proportional nature and with a minimum percentage of votes to achieve parliamentary representation. If he finally manages to stay in power and deliver on this promise, he will further weaken the country’s governance. “With this new electoral law, the governments will not be chosen in the elections but will be decided in Parliament with the negotiations established by the parties. The vote of the citizens will lose weight “, warns Curini. Bertolissi seconded his colleague: «Conte offers the reform of the electoral law as a bargaining chip to the smaller formations for their support. That is not having a sense of the institutions or the common good.

The repeated political crises also pose a serious cost to the country’s economy, since each change of government causes a break in the machinery of the ministries. «The reports of the big international banks advise against investing in Italy due to the lack of reputation of the political class. You can’t trust her. That causes millions of dollars in damages, ”says the professor at the University of Padua. “As governments generally know that they will last short, they have a short perspective and do not dare to carry out unpopular reforms, but that they would be very necessary in the medium and long term,” says Curini, who qualifies as “dramatic »The vicious circle in which Italian politics is trapped.

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