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Italian elections send shock waves

Italian elections send shock waves

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The elections on Sunday 4th March demonstrated once again, if possible, how fragile is the balance that dominates the Italian political scenario, which has paid, both on a local and, above all,on a national basis, the lack of a government with an effective guideline.These elections highlighted two key factors, on which all the political experts agree: the defeat of the center-left and the double victory of two parties, the Lega of Matteo Salvini, and the Movimento Cinque Stelle, which is ruling, with quite unsatisfactory results, the city of Rome since June 2016.

The MovimentoCinque Stelle turned out to be the first Italian party, while the center-right was the most successful populist coalition.

The current scenario

Post-election data have ratified the collapse of traditional parties, first of all the Democratic Party and, even if to a lesser extent, ofForza Italia, and at the same time the unstoppable advance of anti-system and anti-European parties like the Lega, which thus becomes the first party of the center-right coalition, and the Movimento Cinque Stelle, which have both been able to intercept the discontent and the protest vote. The country is literally split in two, with the preferences of the Lega being in the north and the Movimento Cinque Stelle being in the center and the south, united only by the increasingly growing intolerance for Brussels, seen as too far from the problems of everyday life and too little inclined to protect the country to the detriment of other realities. Other issue is the complete defeat of the Democratic Party, guilty of having imposed on Italy penalties and taxes thathave had the sole effect of burying the economy and limiting democracy.

Visions from abroad

The elections in Italy are undoubtedly among the most interesting news at European level, but also globally, with the most authoritative foreign newspapers ready to capture even the smallest details of the after vote. Although it is not yet known how and when the new government will be formed, major foreign publications confirm the affirmation of populist movements. The Spanish newspaper El Mundo writes that the election result measures "the level of Euroscepticism and xenophobia", while according to El Pais the "radical forces advance in the country, but without a majority to govern". The authoritative Financial Times claims that the anti-establishment parties are about to make "a great success", while Der Spiegel affirms that the country is facing "a triumph" of the populist parties, as well as for Breitbart News, where Steve Bannon personally followed the elections fromItalian soil. Although foreign newspapers are still wary of expressing themselves on the causes of the Italian electoral earthquake, one thought rises above all, that of French President Macron, who, having himself blown the socialists off the French political scene, hypothesizes the cause being in the excessive number of uncontrolled wave of migrants, in the "strong migratory pressure" that has "undeniably" interested Italy, to explain the defeat of the Democratic Party and the victory of the populists of Matteo Salvini. The German government recalls that Italy "is a deeply friend and partner country" of Germany and "hopes for a stable government for the welfare of the country and Europe". The current scenario is likely to be very complex and this worries a lot Europe, being Italy the third most important economy in the euro area.

The Lega and the reasons for the far-right success story

Matteo Salvini’s party, with its 17.4% share proved to be the strongest party in the center-right coalition, surpassing Forza Italia, which only settles at 14%.At 2013 elections it only reached a 4.09%, at the European elections of 2014 it obtained 6.16%, doubling with today's results. Unbeatable in the north, with virtuous regions such as Lombardy and Veneto (the richest in Italy), it has achieved noteworthy results even in the south, so far considered hostile land, and always a fief of the Democratic Party.The result of the other party of the coalition, that Forza Italia that has not managed to impose itself on the Lega, is bewildering, stopping at 14%. Berlusconi's party had obtained a good 21.56% at the elections of 2013, when it was still called PopolodelleLibertà, and then fell to 16.83% at the European elections of 2014. The two leaders have already met to discuss the first moves to be undertaken together.The reasons for the victory are to be found in the most intrinsically authentic fabric of the country, where the party has been able to listen to the voice of the people, snubbing radical leftist movements, which have not been able to interpret the overall malaise.Uncontrolled immigration has played a fundamental role in the victory, but also by focusing on topics such as the adjustment of taxes and favoring the Italian economy.Salvini tirelessly succeeded where his antagonist has miserably failed, in talking to people, listening to the discontent and always being by their side.

The Lega represents in Europe, together with the Front National of Marine le Pen, which collects a 21.35% preference, the strongest anti-European party. The French leader was the first to congratulate our leader after the victory.

The Democratic Party and the reasons for an announced defeat

The great loser was the Democratic Party, which, with a merely18.7% achieved the worst result ever. Guilty of not having understood, or not having wanted to listen to the rampant discontent, itstubbornly and obstinately mainly focused for months on the ius soli, blind to the fears of the population. The party has split over the months, and even the most faithful amidst Renzi’s counselors reproached him for his stubbornness, which eventually punished him. Unfulfilled promises, taxes (even to the victims of the earthquakes of Emilia Romagna first, and Amatricelater) and an immigration totally out of control were the causes of an announced disaster, as well as having made of the electoral law its strong point, deaf to the results that saw countless of small businesses fail because of an out-of-control taxation. Other points to the detriment, the impoverishment of the school reform, and the worsening of the health reform, with the cancellation of more than a hundred services considered essential and a priority, where alarming data highlighted weaker segments of the population whodecided to give up to medical care. The request for resignation received by his party after the débaclecrushed with a sort of wall in the leader’s mind, who announced his resignations only after the new executive. The data are alarming, considering that in the 2013 elections the party obtained a 25.43%, in the 2014 Europeanelections it had almost reached 40, 82%, the highest rate ever reached, while today it has halved its numbers. From many sides one wonders about the future of the party, or what remains of it.

The great rise of the Movimento Cinque Stelle

The youngest party in the country has grown exponentially in the last five years, reaching with this election the record percentage of 32.6%. It takes first steps in politics in 2013, with a more than decent 25.56%, to settle at a 21.16% at the European elections of 2014, up to the triumphant result of these elections, where the traditional balances were completely distorted. An overwhelming victory in southern Italy, where it reached peaks of over 50% of preferences, with regions such as Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia where the Movimento Cinque Stelle was the only elected party.Itwas able to count partly on the migration of the votes of the disappointed ex-voters of the Democratic Party, who saw in the young leader Luigi di Maio the promise for a new future, and on the slogan of salary cuts, with whom it has financed the creation of new companies. The almost twelve million votes obtained by the party represent an absolute record.

His young leader points to the electoral issues of the left, but at the same time does not close to the right, soon to begin with cuts to waste, taxes, immigration, reform security, and thecreation of new jobs. He explains his victory as "the beginning of the Third Republic", and affirms he is ready "to dialogue with everyone". He ambitiously points first to the presidency of the Camera, and then move to Palazzo Chigi, but at the moment the party has no numbers to govern alone, so the country waits to understand whothe young leader will open to, thus beginning with the alliances.

Conclusion

The great unknown factor of the new government, which will have to see the light, creates a great deal of concern for the first citizen who is about to cope with the very delicate decision on who will form the executive. Whom to entrust it? To the leader of the Movimento Cinque Stelle, as the winner party, or to the center-right coalition leader? There is also the other hypothesis, already implemented in the past, to prefer a technical government, entrusted to a member alien to both parties. The next days will be crucial.

At the momentthe majority of the center-right has the numbers both in the Camera and in the Senate, with 37% and 245 seats in the first (where the total number of seats is 630 and the majority required is 316), and 37.5% and 129 seats in the Senate (where the total number of seats is 315 and the majority required is 158).

The Movimento Cinque Stelle obtains 32.7% and 226 seats in the Camera and 32.2% and 115 seats in the Senate.It seems that the Italian stock market has not been affected by the results, but Piazza Affari will pay close attention to the next moves; as ithappened for the United States after the election of President Trump, despite the fears and uncertainties of the post-vote.

Italy hopes for a future where the government offers domestic stability, and that credibility which is often lacking at international level. To return to the Bel Paese the nomination of the most beautiful country in the world.

Article contributed by Sonia Russo

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