Nero’s Fiddle & the Italian Political Crisis

The Contenders : Luigi Bersani, Silvio Berlusconi, Beppe Grillo ,Mario Monti. Image Courtesy:
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The Contenders : Luigi Bersani, Silvio Berlusconi, Beppe Grillo ,Mario Monti. Image Courtesy:
The Italian political crisis between politicians (L-R) Luigi Bersani, Silvio Berlusconi, Beppe Grillo, Mario Monti & their parties leads to political stalemate.
Image Courtesy: TDWN

The recent elections in Italy have shown a deepening divide between the citizens and politicians of Italy. The political deadlock created despite a dramatic election that saw the 5-Star Movement of Beppe Grillo, a-comedian-turned-politician become the strongest party in the country — but left parliament with no clear majority. It has created a power vacuum with no sure winner and everyone is in a need of help. With egos ruling the roost, no political party is in a mood for a coalition which could salvage the political stalemate and deepening economic crisis. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has only added to the chaos, raising concerns about the future of  Italy.

After 10-years of Silvio Berlusconi government, the economic crisis and the electoral gridlock, the uncertainty of the results were predicted — but not this degree of chaos.

The  rise of Grillo’s 5 Star Movement was seen in the final weeks of the campaign, with thousands turning up at his rallies to hear his rhetoric against a corrupt government and an economic system that has let the people of Italy down.

In just 3-years, the 5-star movement caught the imagination of the youth of Italy, who were increasingly frustrated due to brutal austerity measures and rising unemployment. Grillo has touched the hearts of millions of Italians who want a way out, and hope for more sanitized politics and an organized government.

The Center Left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani won the lower house, but was short of the majority in the upper house to enable it to govern. But Bersani’s party had no clear agenda on how to capitalize on the prospect of a coalition government. With the mood for negotiations dour, the political picture is grim. The Italians might have to go for another round of elections in the near future. The Italian Center for Electoral Studies, gave 121 seats to Bersani’s coalition, 117 to Berlusconi, 54 for Grillo and 22 to the centrist coalition led by Monti.

The real paralysis is defined by two astonishing results, the vote hauling of a comic-turned-political-leader (almost 5 years ago) Beppe Grillo whose 5 Star Movement (M5S) has swayed the hearts and minds of voters who were disgusted with the ruling political class — and the unexpected return of the billionaire media mogul Silvio Berlusconi who was obliged to leave the Italian parliament at the end of 2011, on account of his deficiency to reform and guide the country.

His comeback had seemed impossible. Unable to fulfill his promises in past years and suffering from the public disgrace brought on by allegations of sex with an underage prostitute Karima El Mahroug (known as “Ruby the Heartstealer”) Berlusconi got a substantial number of  votes by promising to strike an unpopular Monti imposed property tax.

The Italian political crisis has set the markets into jitters. If the deadlock continues, the risk will be much greater if Italy is forced to hold fresh elections as the various parties are in no mood for reconciliation  It remains to be seen if the next government will be able to rise above the austerity measures brought in by Merkel & Monti to revive an economy that has barely grown in the past 20 years. A prolonged period of political confusion would then ensue, that could spook the markets and create yet another major problem for the Eurozone.

The worst is yet to comeGianfranco Fini said. Rome is burning and we are in desperate need of a new fiddler to organize this beautiful land which needs both spiritual and political healing.

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