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Italy votes

March 4, 2018

UPDATE – Looks like Berlusconi’s Forza Italia actually got fewer votes than their northern regional partner, the right-wing Lega. This could take the formation of a coalition government in a different and more troubling direction.

UPDATE2 – added 2 more links for deeper context


Italy had their national election. (On a Sunday, take note. Not Tuesday.) Turnout was just over 70%, which is a postwar low for Italy.

Preliminary results show none of the 3 major blocs high enough to form a government. More telling are the choices themselves:

First, Berlusconi’s center-right bloc, consisting of his personal Forza Itaila party, joined in coalition by Northern and Southern regional right-wing parties. I always said he was the prototype for Trump. In a lot of ways, he’s way ahead of our own fearless leader. His “liberal-conservative” program: A sweeping package of tax cuts. (sound familiar?) Deportation of migrants. Increase minimum pensions. Oh and he’s currently banned from holding office (til 2019) due to prior conviction. His right wing coalition partners add support for the Euroskeptic package, and explicitly nativist flavor.

Next, the populist M5S (Movimento 5 Stelle). Highest single party result, around 30% per early polls. General theme: mass discontent. Program: Universal Basic Income Minimum Income.  Deficit Spending. Repeal liberal labor market reforms. Euroskeptic – demand continental authorities exempt Italy from austerity treaty obligations, or else quit the EU. “Anti-Corruption”. Raise taxes on finance and energy business (most doubtful). In the past, claimed as a matter of principle that they will not form coalitions with other parties.

Last of the major groups, the PD (Partito Democratico). Typical centrist-liberal fare. Major selling point is sanity. Just to show where the country’s politics are, the program also includes raising minimum pension, minimum wage, subsidies for families with young kids. Willing to “negotiate” with continental authorities on austerity imposed due to treaty obligations vs Italy’s high debt.


Just for background — Italy’s cumulative GDP growth since the financial crisis is about 15% behind the EU overall. Realistic next steps: Berlusconi negotiates for maximum possible concessions / personal favors, threatens to form coalition with M5S, but ends up in coalition with PD when the payoff is high enough.


see also: Yanis Varoufakis interview (blog) on the outcome of the Italian Election.

see also: 18 minute audio interview (youtube) with Mark Blyth and David Kertzer

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  1. Italy Votes The Right Way. – The Militant Negro™

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