Italian politics: Cliff notes about Italian elections

Feb 17, 2018 1363

General elections are approaching, and Italians must choose. But choose who? Here’s a short bio for every wannabe Presidente del Consiglio on the battlefield*, written by a very evil analyst.


The former golden boy of Italian center-left is having a hard time with his own ex comrades. Nobody seem to like him anymore. His policies seem to have fueled the Italian economy, which was severely damaged by the consequences of 2008 world financial crisis, but he’s considered a primadonna. Pollsters say the Democratic Party lost almost one third of its votes from the last general elections. It’s a huge drain, and many people think it’s because of Mr. Renzi’s attitude towards his allies. He’s already considered some kind of lame duck, whatever happens. Of course, he thinks otherwise.


Luigi Di Maio became a representative for the Five Stars Movement in 2012 and has been a deputy Speaker of the House all along. His opponents say he’s incredibly ignorant (and he actually is), he never had a true job before (and he didn’t), he doesn’t have any idea about how to govern a country (and the The 5 stars Movement program is there to prove it: the majority of their proposals is quite impossible to realize. Basically, we lack money). Unfortunately for them, he has votes. Many, many votes. The 5 stars Movement has collected votes (and members. And candidates) from embittered people of any political provenance. Given the experiences of Rome, Turin and Livorno, a Di Maio’s government would be a true disgrace for the country, but Italians are not known for their flawless foresight when they enter a voting booth. 


Best known as a magistrate, the current Speaker of the Senate is running for Liberi e Uguali, a new party born from Renzi’s opponents in the Democratic Party. Mr. Grasso is 73 and his rhetoric is a bit threadbare. His counterparts say he’s working only to bring power in the hands of the last, true grey eminence in Italian politics: Massimo D’Alema. On the other hand, Liberi e Uguali’s proposals gave new hope to Italian leftists who see Mr. Renzi as Mr. Berlusconi’s younger double.


Does he really need any introduction? Silvio Berlusconi has history, and we all have history with him. His allies, Mr. Matteo Salvini and Ms. Giorgia Meloni, are much younger and declare themselves ready to lead the country, not to mention Berlusconi can’t really run for anything because of his criminal record. But Silvio is the best winning horse when it comes to electoral campaigns. Really, there’s no one like him at campaigning. He also signed a new “Contract with Italians” (as a political analyst, I was waiting for it). Mr. Salvini and Ms. Meloni, given their backgrounds, needed the old leader to help them get moderate voters. And Berlusconi still wants to be back in the political business, even if he’s 82. You know: hope never dies. 

*Italians do not choose the leader of the executive power. Italy’s procedure for government formation is quite complicated, and will be the object of our next piece


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