Italy rejects the left

The Center-Right alliance headed by the billionaire, Silvio Berlusconi, swept into power in Italy's election Monday; he now becomes a three-time Prime Minister.  The Center-Right alliance between Silvio Berlusconi's party, Popolo della Libertà (The People of Freedom) and the Lega Nord (Northern League) won what turned out to be an easy victory 47% to 38%, by winning Italy's lower house of parliament, the House of Deputies  over the alliance of the ex-mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni. 

Veltroni bragged several times during the campaign of being personally acquainted with Barak Obama, and he went so far as to borrow and Italianize the mantra of the Obamistas with "Si Può Fare!" (Yes We Can!).  Didn't do Veltroni much good as Berlusconi's alliance won with a margin of victory much more decisive than that predicted by experts.


Election Day was a nightmare for Italy's left wing.  The results in the Senate, where the Left believed they could hold a slim majority, were even worse that in the lower house, with the Center-Right alliance winning 49% to 38%.

It is risky generalizing about political trends but there seems to be a kind of restless move to the right among a number of Europe's principal countries.  In November 2005, the relatively conservative Angela Merkel became the German Chancellor; in mid-2007, Nicholas Sarkozy was elected President of France by a 53% to 47% margin.  And now we have Berlusconi's decisive victory.

Federico Punzi has a pretty good pre-election commentary on the likelihood of political change regardless of who wins. http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/italian-elections-unlikely-to-provide-needed-reform/.  Oh, and for those Italy election watchers the real disappointment of the day was the defeat of The Right's premier candidate, former actress Daniela Santanchè; she will not even be returning to Parliament.

Silvio has his work cut out for him.  Italians have been unhappy for some time with what they view as a "can't do anything" government that seems to simply recycle its politicians over and over again.   Their economy gives new meaning to the phrase "stagnation."  Wage earners and those of fixed pensions have been badly hurt by the move to the EURO.  Taxes are high.  The birth rate is under water the effects of which can be felt everywhere in a general lack of vitality.  Naples is shoulder-high in garbage thanks to their left-wing mayor and Naples answer to the Mafia, the Camorra.  And the prevalent mood in the country is one of demoralization.  The decisive, gutsy and enterprising Italians have been increasingly leaving the country...a brain drain...that exacerbates the lack of economic vitality.  Robert Browning's words have been straining under the weight of Italy's myriad self inflicted problems.

There is reason to harbor some hope for Italy.  A country that has had more than 40 political parties for decades may be evolving toward a two party system.  At least the nature of the major alliance in this last election could indicate that. 
The Center-Right alliance headed by the billionaire, Silvio Berlusconi, swept into power in Italy's election Monday; he now becomes a three-time Prime Minister.  The Center-Right alliance between Silvio Berlusconi's party, Popolo della Libertà (The People of Freedom) and the Lega Nord (Northern League) won what turned out to be an easy victory 47% to 38%, by winning Italy's lower house of parliament, the House of Deputies  over the alliance of the ex-mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni. 

Veltroni bragged several times during the campaign of being personally acquainted with Barak Obama, and he went so far as to borrow and Italianize the mantra of the Obamistas with "Si Può Fare!" (Yes We Can!).  Didn't do Veltroni much good as Berlusconi's alliance won with a margin of victory much more decisive than that predicted by experts.


Election Day was a nightmare for Italy's left wing.  The results in the Senate, where the Left believed they could hold a slim majority, were even worse that in the lower house, with the Center-Right alliance winning 49% to 38%.

It is risky generalizing about political trends but there seems to be a kind of restless move to the right among a number of Europe's principal countries.  In November 2005, the relatively conservative Angela Merkel became the German Chancellor; in mid-2007, Nicholas Sarkozy was elected President of France by a 53% to 47% margin.  And now we have Berlusconi's decisive victory.

Federico Punzi has a pretty good pre-election commentary on the likelihood of political change regardless of who wins. http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/italian-elections-unlikely-to-provide-needed-reform/.  Oh, and for those Italy election watchers the real disappointment of the day was the defeat of The Right's premier candidate, former actress Daniela Santanchè; she will not even be returning to Parliament.

Silvio has his work cut out for him.  Italians have been unhappy for some time with what they view as a "can't do anything" government that seems to simply recycle its politicians over and over again.   Their economy gives new meaning to the phrase "stagnation."  Wage earners and those of fixed pensions have been badly hurt by the move to the EURO.  Taxes are high.  The birth rate is under water the effects of which can be felt everywhere in a general lack of vitality.  Naples is shoulder-high in garbage thanks to their left-wing mayor and Naples answer to the Mafia, the Camorra.  And the prevalent mood in the country is one of demoralization.  The decisive, gutsy and enterprising Italians have been increasingly leaving the country...a brain drain...that exacerbates the lack of economic vitality.  Robert Browning's words have been straining under the weight of Italy's myriad self inflicted problems.

There is reason to harbor some hope for Italy.  A country that has had more than 40 political parties for decades may be evolving toward a two party system.  At least the nature of the major alliance in this last election could indicate that.