The Progressive Post

Behind the victory

23/06/2014

The results of the European elections have shaken up the political scene in Italy again due to the high degree of electoral volatility. Unusually, in the new dispensation, one party—the Democratic Party—has dominated with a 15% increase in votes compared with the previous election. This is due to the fragmentation of the Right, which is still searching for a new direction after the fall of Berlusconi and to the sui generis nature of Grillo’s non-Party, now struggling with early existential doubts after losing about three million votes in just one year. As a result, the single party now in power, the Democratic Party, has also changed shape under its stronger leadership.

Significant volatility

According to political analysts, half of the vote for the Democratic Party came from other political formations, either from the disillusioned right or from Monti’s Scelta Civica, which previously had won about 11% of the vote and this time managed just 0.7%. This changes not only the cultural but also the social make-up of the party. The Democratic Party now appears to be a large, post-ideological organisation with a mission that stretches across various constituencies. Rather like an “archipelago” party that has to open up to lots of different islands, it is obliged to fuse together a multiplicity of small-scale movements that are fundamentally very different from each other. And none of them is able to impose a single, uniform identity on the others.

Berlusconi can thank Grillo

Despite the massive shift in voting, there are still a number of structural hotspots in a three-party system that reveals a highly asymmetric distribution of electoral preferences. Since approval for the new electoral law (the Italicum) has become more difficult as a guarantee of a two-party configuration, the new balance of power would seem to foreshadow a grand coalition as an unavoidable step forward towards building a government. So long as Grillo remains an outside variable in the political game, Berlusconi might hope to conserve a role for bargaining and posing political threats. These knotty problems of the political crisis in Italy have not yet been solved. Even the electoral campaign overlooked the major European issues and took on a very provincial flavour in terms of the issues on the agenda. The three main leaders don’t have a seat in Parliament and are not candidates for a seat in Brussels, so they are fighting it out via the media—mainly television.

The Italian vote shows a powerful rejection of European policies of austerity and restraint. The pro-government vote (attracted by the story line, the leader’s physical energy and also the tax bonus for employees and lower company tax) is taken as a strong mandate to launch expansionary new policies to promote growth and jobs. Yet this vote is in fact ambiguous as it is pro-government from an internal perspective, but radically anti-government when viewed from a European perspective. In the end, only a change in European policy will help provide effective governance of the crisis in Italy.

Find all related publications
Publications
13/06/2024

The Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation: Towards future-proof crisis management and responses?

New Pact Implementation series
11/06/2024

Computer in command

Digital Programme: Algorithms at the workplace
04/06/2024

The new Screening and Border Procedures: Towards a seamless migration process?

New Pact implementation series
28/05/2024

The real effects of Next Generation EU

Recovery Watch Series
Find all related news
News
05/06/2024

FEPS represented at T20 Brasil International Advisory Council

16/05/2024

FEPS at UN Civil Society Conference in Kenya

15/05/2024

Notice of vacancy – Policy analyst on international relations

29/04/2024

FEPS celebrates 20 years of the biggest EU enlargement

Find all related in the media
In the media

Die EU-Osterweiterung nach 20 Jahren: Kann die Konvergenz sozial und wirtschaftlich nachhaltig gestaltet werden?

by Wirtschaftsdienst 13/06/2024
'EU Eastward Enlargement After 20 Years: Socially and Economically Sustainable Convergence?' FEPS Secretary General László Andor co-authored this article of the German journal Wirtschaftsdienst

Flere har en computer som chef: »Det dræber al gejst og motivation«

by Finans 12/06/2024
'Several people have a computer as their boss: "It kills all spirit and motivation" Finans article features FEPS latest policy study and survey 'Computer in command'

Un comisario de democracia para Europa

by Confidencial 11/06/2024
"A Democracy Commissioner for Europe". FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues co-authors this article, advocating for the establishment of a Democracy Commissioner.

A Europa tem de conseguir reinventar as suas alianças

by SÁBADO 07/06/2024
"Europe must be able to reinvent its alliances". FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues discusses with SÁBADO the report she co-authored, 'Europe 2044: Tomorrow is Today'.