Even though, as the headline shows, I have little Italian, and less Italian politics, I’m so chuffed that Beppe Grillo did well in yesterday’s Italian elections — even though he was neither a wizened, permanently tanned, and shamelessly unrehabilitated whoremonger nor a Goldman Sachs alumnus (sorry for the redundancy) — that I thought I’d do a wrap-up before conventional wisdom completely congeals. Alert readers will, of course, correct and amplify this post in comments!
—Lambert Strether of Corrente on the recent Italian elections.
Of course, the whoremonger is Berulusconi, and the Goldman Sachs alum is Monti.
Italy’s center-left coalition won the most votes in the parliamentary election, mustering 110,000 more votes than its traditional rival, final data from the Interior Ministry showed early Tuesday.
The victory came thanks to inclusion of the SVP party, a regionalist movement that has long ruled the German-speaking South Tyrol region.
Pier Luigi Bersani’s center-left coalition had 29.54% of the total vote while Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition had 29.18% of the vote.
Under Italy’s electoral law, the winner of the most votes wins 340 of the 630 seats in the lower house, while losers split the rest proportionally.
“It’s too close to call,” said Angelino Alfano, the head of Mr. Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, signaling he may demand a closer scrutiny of the vote tally.
In fact, Italy’s two main coalitions of the past 20 years together claimed less than half of all eligible votes, and their combined total fell more than 10 million from the last national vote in 2008.
Turnout was the lowest in Italian history at 75%, but the big surprise was Beppe Grillo’s Five-Star Movement, an anti-establishment party born only three years ago, which took 25.55% of the vote. Activists in his party said they had no interest in negotiating “little stitched-up backroom deals.”
Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti’s centrist coalition won 10.56% of the vote as support for the two veteran politicians he chose to ally with collapsed. Gianfranco Fini, once Mr. Berlusconi’s virtual dauphin, won 0.465 of the vote while Pierferdinando Casini’s UDC party, which claims to be the heir of the Christian Democrat party that ruled Italy for decades, won 1.78%, final data showed.
I would disagree with the assessment on Monti’s lack of performance.
This vote, albeit one with low turnout by Italian standards, was about a rejection of austerity and German Hegemony in the EU.
Of course, it did not help that Monti was completely clueless about how widely loathed the very serious people are loathed: (H/t Paul Krugman)
There was a symbolic moment in the Italian elections when I knew that the game was up for Mario Monti, the defeated prime minister. It was when in the middle of the campaign – in the midst of an anti-establishment insurgence – he took off to Davos to be with his friends from international finance and politics. I know his visit to the elite gathering in the Swiss mountains was not an issue in the campaign, but it signaled to me an almost comic lack of political realism.
Yes, sipping champagne with the rich ratf%$#s who ruined the world economy, and then end up even richer, that’s a productive use of your time.
I’m with Simon Johnson on this: We need to break the back of the privileged class that broke the world as a first step to fixing the world.
The so-called “Technocrats” like Monti are just water carriers for these folks, and as such, are a part of the problem, not a part of the solution.