We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Making heads or tails of the Italian election

And the winner is......

No, it wasn't Oscar night here in Italy. Even though I waited up until 1am, there was no announcement of who the winner was. Turns out, there is no winner. This is mind boggling to someone like me whose experiences with elections comes from the American two party system.

I sat glued to the TV all night, listening carefully to all of the political analysis and waiting along with the rest of Italy as the election results came in from all regions.  I struggled a little bit attempting to understand the sometimes complex Italian language, however what was more complex was trying to make comprehend the electoral rules of this country. With one ear tuned to the TV for updates, I searched the internet for information that would help me get a better handle on how the Italian parliamentary system works and what the election results all meant.

As I wrote in my last post - it's complex. On Monday night, the final reported results were Bersani's coalition had won the Chamber of Delegates by a very thin margin, trailed very closely by Berlusconi's coalition, and then Beppe Grillo's 5 Star Movement. Monte was way back in the pack with about 10%.
Mr. Berlusconi, miraculously, won the Senate by a small margin over Bersani, and again Beppe Grillo's party had a very strong showing. Since both sides of Parliament were not won by the same party/coalition, no one clear winner of Prime Minister is the end result.

The newspaper headlines Tuesday morning included " Miracolo Berlusconi", "Terremoto Grillo", and "Ingovernabili".  Love the word ingovernabili. Ungovernable. I love how it swirls around on my tongue when I pronounce it. It became my new vocabulary word of the week. Berlusconi surfacing again, and with such big number results, is - and there is no other word for it- miraculous.  I am convinced that the only reason he got votes was because his campaign promise was to repeal the new property tax and refund payments. He even did a late in the game mass mailing to Italians to make sure they knew his proposal right before going to the polls. At a time when Italy is facing an economic crisis ( you hear crisi every where you turn nowadays), Berlusconi's promise probably sounded pretty darned good. Good enough to forget all of Berlusconi's other faults long enough to get through checking off the X on the ballot.

So what happens now?  There will be some period of time where the Bersani, Berlusconi and Grillo, perhaps with Monte thrown into the mix, will jockey about trying to work some partnership in hopes of some government of some kind formed. Most likely, if this does come to pass, whatever government is formed will fall on it's face in short order. And that will mean Italians go back to the election booths for another round.

Until further notice, all of Italy is scratching their heads.


jodi said...

What will it do to the Italian economy if Berlusconi gets to make those refunds? The money has to come from somewhere

karen said...

Jodi- who knows? Berlusconi never provided a plan for where the money might come from. Doesn't look like we'll have to worry about that now.