I wanted to write something intelligent, insightful and brilliant about the upcoming Italian national elections (23rd and 24th February).
All I can come up with is one word ‘BOH!’ Well it’s not really a word more like a sound that is used mostly in Sicily to describe a state of total confusion when no one knows what to say, no one understands why or in what direction to go it’s simply big BOH time.
Thanks to the web page of the Italian newspaper ill Sole 24 ore I was able to understand the major players in the election but the political landscape is in such turmoil that no one understands the different parties aims and there are simply too many new players that the Italian public doesn’t know who to trust.
Here are the new and old faces Italians see this time around thanks to Sole 24 ore:
(be prepared to get confused)
Year established: 2012
Leader: Antonio Ingroia, 53 years old
History: The party joins some of the left-wing parties of the Democratic Party ( Italia dei Valori, Rifondazione Comunista, Partito dei comunisti italiani, Federazione dei Verdi) as well as some left-wing movements, coming from the civil society (such as the orange movement of the Mayor of Naples Luigi de Magistris)
Growth/reform: Fight against corruption and mafia infiltration in the real economy. Moving financial resources towards the small-medium enterprise and the arts and crafts, defending them from the lobbies.
Public expenses: No to actions on health and public education, no to general cuts for 47 billion required by the fiscal compact. Roof to salaries and golden pensions for public managers, members of Parliament and Regional Councillors. Recovering illegal wealth of the Mafia, the corrupted and those who dodge taxes. Eliminate the Provinces.
Taxes: Higher taxes for great wealths
Europe: The EU must become independent from the financial powers, with institutional bodies elected by the people. No to a unanimous decisional mechanism.
Year established: 2007
Leader: Pier Luigi Bersani (61 years old)
History: The Democratic Party was created from the fusion between the Left-wing Democratics (the former Pci party) and the Margherita (one of those parties created from the fall of the Christian Democratic party) Last political election results: (Chamber 2008): 33,2%
Growth/reforms: the party has declared that it wants to continue with Monti’s agenda but will do more for the growth by joining it with equality and more social justice. In order to relaunch the economy it counts on supporting what is Made in Italy, tax credit, relaunching investments, new technologies
Public expenses: rigor and discipline for the budget are not debated. However austerity is not sufficient.
Taxes: The leader said to be in favor of a personal tax for the wealthy
Europe: Pd defines itself to be a pro-European force that is ready to respect all the commitments made within the European Union. However it asks the EU to concentrate more on growth and on fighting the recession
Year established: 2011
Leader: Gianfranco Fini (61 years old)
History: Futuro e libertà per l’Italia is a moderate center-right party, created from Gianfranco Fini’s followers in the division from Pdl
Growth/reform: Introducing an apprentice contract for training, so as to spread Italian know-how to the future generations.
Public expenses: Reduce the burden and cost of public expenses by starting with a privatization plan. Reduce public financing of politics. Abolish the Provinces. Create an “Italian Real Estate Fund” which contains non-strategic State assets, good and rights to be used to rapidly allow the debt to fall under 100% of the Gdp.
Taxes: Transform the 21 billion free grant for enterprises and political clientele, into tax credit and a deduction of Irap on the salaries. Increasing deductions for families.
Europe: Harmonize tax and budget policies. Promote the domestic market, especially for the services. Against the tendency to favor an inter-governmental guide which means the strongest nations then prevail, the role of the European Parliament should be increased.
Year established: 1989
Leader: Roberto Maroni (57 years old)
History: Lega is an independent party with roots in Northern Italy. It has been allied with Pdl until the fall of the last Berlusconi government (November 2011).
Last political election results (Chamber 2008): 8,3%
Growth/reforms: The micro-regions represent an institutional instrument to aim towards. The introduction of laws which allow tenders at “0 km” will eventually allow the various territories to grow economically.
Public expenses: give the Local Bodies more independence in order to give the administrations more responsability and make them answer directly to the citizens for their actions. Those regions that have not been honest are obliged to stop hiring, reorganize and make their services more modern, but above all use flexibility for their own employees.
Taxes: By leaving at least 75% of the tax revenue produced within the single regions at a local level, the same will have appropriate resources to adequately satisfy the needs of the citizens and the enterprises.
Europe: The community institutions must relate more democratically with the European people. The community treaties must be ratified – with a referendum – by the citizens of all those countries which are members of the EU. In order to build a real Europe of the Regions, it becomes necessary to create regional agreements, also cross-bordered, which means for the so-called Euro regions.
Scelta Civica con Monti
Year established: 2013
Leader: Mario Monti (69 years old)
History: the list joins all of the supporters of Mario Monti and his agenda. The basic structure is the “Towards the Third Republic” movement, created from the initiative of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and the former Minister Andrea Riccardi
Growth/reforms: a more efficient public administration, total use of European funds, opening the markets of goods and services, increasing investments for research and innovation.
Public expense: continue the commitment to recover public accounts, in accordance with the European commitments.
Taxes: reduce the tax burden by one point, starting from the lowest rates
Europe: Italy’s future cannot be apart from Europe. The aim of the movement is to anchor Italian politics to the European strategy for growth and inter-generational equality.
Movimento 5 Stelle
Year established: 2009
Leader: Beppe Grillo (64 years old)
History: the Movimento 5 Stelle is a party created by the former comedian Grillo who, with the attacks launched from his blog, has given a voice and feelings to the anti-political movement.
Growth/reforms: measures for relaunching the small-medium entreprise according to the French model.
Public expenses: reducing the public debt with strong actions on the costs of the State with cuts in squandering
Taxes: supporting no-profit companies
Europe: M5S is strongly anti-Europe, they want to propose a referendum for Italy remaining in the Euro.
Year established: 2009
Leader: Silvio Berlusconi (76 years old)
History: Pdl was created from a fusion between Forza Italia (the moderate center-right party) and Alleanza nazionale (the party that was created from the ashes of Msi, with a conservative-national vision)
Last political election results (Chamber 2008): 37,4%
Growth/reforms: Decreasing the debt to decrease tax pressure and liberate resources for investments. Change labour laws: Monti’s government has introduced very strict measures that hinder occupation, the Biagi Law is better than the Fornero Law
Public expenses: The party agrees with the spending review process started by Monti but criticizes the health and security cuts
Taxes: The leader Berlusconi counts on abolishing IMU (property tax) while increasing taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and lottos/betting
Europe: A reflection is requested on the choices made by the EU which created stricter budgets and has compromised growth as well as increased the recession. They furthermore propose to review the relationship between the Euro and the BCE to make the Euro more solid and the markets less inconstant. A definite no to a Germano-centric EU.
Sel (Sinistra ecologia e libertà)
Year established: 2009
Leader: Nichi Vendola (54 years old)
History: Sinistra ecologia e libertà is a party which was created with the fusion of various left-wing parties, some of which used to belong to the former Partito della Rifondazione comunista
Growth/reforms: join the problem of the public debt with initiatives for development. For example by using the current expenses to release expenses for investments.
Public expense: there is a commitment to be strict and fight the public debt
Taxes: drastic cut in the tax pressure on labor and enterprises
Europe: open a process to review the European Union and consider welfare a priority.
Year established: 2008
Leader: Pier Ferdinando Casini (57 years old)
History: L’Unione di centro joins all the center parties which believe in the moderate values of democratic Christianity.
Last political election results: (Chamber 2008): 5,6%
Growth/reforms: Continue with the structural reforms started by Monti: liberalization, simplification, reviewing the institutional structures. Fighting tax dodging.
Public expenses: Continue in the fight against squandering and a selective reduction of public expenses. Reduce the State’s action within society counting on a sussidiary action.
Taxes: Less taxes for those who have more children in order to increase consumption and less taxes on labour to increase productivity-
Europe: Objective: the United States of Europe. Going from a monetary union to a real tax and political union. Reinforce the support among the States, giving up a bit of our own sovereignity, if necessary.
Summarised so neatly from the Sole 24 ore newspaper things don’t seem so confusing do they?
The reality is that Italians don’t know where to vote and a large section will probably not turn up during polling day (voting is not compulsory) and those that do, will be protesting by voting for Beppe Grillo’s alternative Movement 5 Stelle which was formed as a protest against all the current Italian parties or be spread out evenly between the left and right side of politics resulting in the need for a strange unsteady coalition to be formed or another election to break the publics indecisiveness.
Sounds like a pessimistic prediction don’t you think? The reality is bleak, times are tough in the historically ‘dolce vita’ of Italy.
I too will be voting but my response to who ever asks me where I will vote is a big strong guttural BOHHHHH! I have no idea.