• Forthcoming Elections
  • What Space for the Left in Italy?

  • By Roberto Morea | 21 Feb 13 | Posted under: Italy , Elections
  • The upcoming elections to be held in Italy on 24 and 25 February give us a pretty bleak picture of the political situation in Italy.

    On the one hand, after twenty years of Berlusconi, for the first time the reactionary block (whose members define themselves as moderate) seems to be permanently fragmented and divided into at least two components. One being the usual axis Berlusconi-Lega Nord, the second one coagulating around the “Doctor” Monti in a more presentable and European Right related to the PPE and entirely different from a populist and folk conception.

    On the other hand, we have a Center-Left trying to gain credibility and at the same time reassuring the markets and the European Union, pretending to be able to change the austerity in development and growth. Out of this, the 5-Star Movement has developed, a protest and alternative vote against the ruling parties which have dominated the institutional framework to date. At the same time, a good result for the list of the Left, Rivoluzione Civile, seems ever more difficult to achieve.

    The employment of personalist approaches and the intrusiveness of the parties into the management of the public sphere have created discontent, alienation with parties and an attempt at re-appropriation of politics.

    The current electoral law provides for a “majority premium” to the party that has the most votes. But there are differences between the House of Representatives, where the majority rests on a national scale, and the Senate, where the majority is based on a regional scale. This is putting in balance the ability of the Center-Left to reach a majority capable of governing the country, forcing the Center-Left (including Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà) to a possible deal with the “Doctor” Monti or to resort to early elections.

    The situation of the Left is rather difficult. After Vendola splitting from Rifondazione and the creation of Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà, now in support of the Democratic Party, the attempt to define a space for the Left outside the Center-Left meets extreme difficulties particularly on the part of the media. This effort stems from a last-minute appeal to bring together the many fragmented forces of the Left, even if they exist, to represent an alternative to the protest vote now collected by the 5-Star Movement. The acceleration of the electoral process and the “valuations” of mistrust of personalities typical of the Left have partially compromised the thrust coming from the bottom for a new form of politics of the Left. The process put in place by the List Rivoluzione Civile that sees array some parties and activation of citizens, of what is called civil society, bears the potential of development for the construction of a Left alternative in Italy.



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