An initial rough evaluation: The right (PdL-Berlusconi and Lega Nord, Northern League) has suffered a defeat; the Third Pole – the moderate centre and major support for the Monti government – has been punished; the Democratic Party has not made progress; Italy of Values (Idv) has had a good result; the major winners are abstentionism and Beppe Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle (5-Star Movement). The alternative left (Left, Ecology and Freedom, Sel and the Federation of the Left—Rifondazione Comunista) have not capitalised on the discontent.
This is the state of affairs in Italy in an electoral contest that, it must immediately be said, involved a limited number of voters. They were municipal elections, and thus electing mayors and city councillors of some large cities and many small towns implies attention paid to local problems rather than to ideological questions and those of political alignment, which is the case in the general elections. Nevertheless, they clearly point to a political tendency in today’s Italy, which is up against a serious economic and moral crisis.
In the first place, the Monti government does not have the support it previously had. Austerity policies have been rejected. It is true that the signs of this in Italy are not as unequivocal as they have been in the recent elections in France and Greece. In the end, Italy is a country in which the level of corruption is very high and where the political parties are seen as bearing the main responsibility for this. Less attention is directed to the other domain of corruption – the capitalist groups, the entrepreneurs, organised crime, etc. In addition, there is a widespread perception on the part of those hit by the economic crisis, by unemployment and precariety that the costs of politics, the funds allocated to parties, to parliamentarians, to functionaries, etc. are excessive and parasitical costs , a disgrace and an affront. The Italian anomaly had included a high level of political and electoral participation. The Movimento 5 Stelle, which denounces corruption and the high costs of politics, had a stunning electoral performance. One of its mayoral candidates will be in a runoff ballot in the important city of Parma. It has been dismissed as “qualunquista” (politically apathetic, mistrustful of institutions) and the promoter of an anti-politics. But this is misleading. I would say that the activism of many young people, sociologically a cultured élite and very much at home with the internet and computers, expresses, on the contrary, a need for politics, for having representation in the institutions. Many voters disillusioned with the incredible level of corruption and the low moral and political level of Lega Nord’s leaders, and many protest votes from conservative quarters, awarded the “grillini”. Nevertheless, many of the latter’s issues (water, common goods, democratic participation etc.) are typical left issues. And they are inspired by a new civic commitment.
The left that won in Palermo with Leoluca Orlando (Idv) and in Genoa with Marco Doria (Sel) is not that of the Democratic Party. These are among the few satisfactions for the left camp. The context is such that it is hard to imagine the general elections waiting for 2013. It is very likely that everything will speed up this fall, not only in terms of political ungovernability but above all due to the grave economic and social conditions in which the country finds itself. “We are all Greeks” is not only a slogan of us in the left against the anti-popular policies of the ECB, of Europe under German leadership, etc. It is the likely scenario, even in Italy, wished for by the reckless dominant classes of Europe.