Last night, Italy saw the resurrection of Silvio Berlusconi as a political figure. The People of Freedom party of the controversial politician came in second – after the Democratic Party of Pier Luigi Bersani. Four EUR students from Italy reflect on the political situation in their country.
“We are a joke”, IBCoM student Federica Romaniello reflects on the return of Berlusconi in politics. The 76-year old politician has been surrounded by scandals until his forced abdication in in 2011, and now he seems to be back. Berlusconi’s party came in second with 29,1 percent of the votes – just a minor 0,4 percent behind the now largest party in parliament: the Democratic Party of Bersani. In any case, Berlusconi’s influence in politics is expected to be significant as his party remains to be the largest in the Senate, which in effect means that the approval of his party is necessary to pass laws.
No obvious coalition comes to mind when reviewing the election results. Most realistic option appears to be a coalition between Bersani’s party and the Five Star Movement party of former comedian Beppe Grillo. This collaboration is complicated however by the fact that the latter has said to refuse collaborations with other politicians because he deems them corrupt and unreliable. Though Romaniello thinks he has interesting ideas, IBCoM student Alessia Vavassori is critical: “Come on, he is a comedian, no politician”.
Unmentioned so far is former prime minister Mario Monti. As he gained a mere 10 percent of the votes he can be considered to have lost the elections last night. He was installed with a cabinet of technocrats in 2011 to solve the urgent crisis in Italy by means of tax-increases, which made him unpopular by the Italian people. “After Berlusconi messed up, he didn’t really have a choice”, Romaniello assesses the situation.
Monti managed to partly revive the loss of credibility caused by Berlusconi, according to IBA students Fabio Proietto and David Fortini. “With the interconnected global economies nowadays, international credibility is vital for attracting foreign investors” Proietto analyzes. This restored credibility would be under threat due to Berlusconi’s political rise. The effect appears to be real: during the conversation Proietto receives a text messages from his mother in Italy, stating that the markets went down in reaction to the election results.
Though difficult now, Italy’s depressing economic situation urges for determinate acts from politics. Vavassori: “You see more and more shops closing in Italy”. Romaniello and Vavassori put their hope in the hands of election winner Bersani and comedian Grillo, though they don’t expect it to work. Romaniello: “I give it maximum 9 months before new elections”. Proietto hopes for a mentality change in Italy: “People vote selfishly for their own interests, rather than for the good of the entire country. That is why we see corrupt politicians as Berlusconi back on the political stage today”. If a political collaboration turns out impossible, re-elections are inevitable. LJa