All change please! In Italy, the old guard of Italian politics has been firmly ostracised, to the backwaters of… well actually they are back in control.
The man nominated to take on the role of Italy’s new prime minister is a young man. Enrico Letta is just 46. However, it took an 87 year old to force the necessary compromise for the new government to be formed – or least the one likely to be formed.
In fact, for a while this week, Italy’s political system seemed more presidential than parliamentarian. In Italy the president’s main job relates to decisions on when to call elections, and dissolve parliament, and somehow – from the melee that is the Italian political scene – pull the strings required to get Italy’s elected MPs to form a government. For a few days this week, the 87 year newly reappointed and indeed reluctant president, Giorgio Napolitano, held the power in Italy. Some might call it anti–democratic. An equivalent situation would have been if –after the last UK election – the Queen had forced Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron into a room together, and finally she chose the make-up of the government.
But then again, for all its faults, Italy’s MPs are voted in using a democratic system, and the result is chaos: with coalitions of opposing views. In such a maelstrom, someone is needed – if only to bang a few heads together.
And so the new government will be led by Enrico Letta, and talk is that Mario Monti, the economist and former caretaker prime minister, will be foreign secretary with our very good, dear friend Silvio Berlusconi, playing a key role. Perhaps the compromise for Mr Berlusconi’s support might be less regulation, more libertarianism. That way none of those annoying regulators, otherwise known as the Italian police, can get in the way of Mr Berlusconi’s human right to do whatever he wants.
As for Mr Letta, whose uncle was a key player in the last Berlusconi government, he may be young, but by all accounts he is old school when it comes to politics.
It is understood that Mr Napolitano considered asking Matteo Renzi, the 38 year old mayor of Florence, to take up the mantle of Prime Minister. Mr Renzi is enormously popular in Italy, not least for the way in which he has slated the Italian political system and the political class, as personified by the likes of Berlusconi and Letta. Apparently, the Italian president was dissuaded from asking Renzi to take on the most important role in Italy, by our Silvio, who wasn’t all that positive about the man. He said that Renzi “wouldn't even get voted in by his own party.” Well he may be right there. Renzi’s problem is also his unique selling point. He is anti the political class, meaning the political class don’t like him.
In all of this, comedian – and now powerful politician – Beppe Grillo, who was against the re-appointment of Mr Napolitano, seems to have been forgotten.
There is one thing the former comedian and mayor of Florence have in common – actually there may be more than one thing: they want to see radical change.
Italy needs change. All right, maybe now is not the time. Let’s wait until things are more settled, a little less chaotic, less dire economically speaking – at which point, of course, the impetus for change will no longer be present.
© Investment & Business News 2013