Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The two clowns (part 2)

Electoral disaster

As i was saying in the last post, in Italy you need half of the Parliament, or, better, half +1 of the Deputies in the Camera and half +1 of the Senators in the Senato to obtain a Fiducia vote that can support a new Government. Half+1 is enough, but as bigger the majority is, as better it is, in fact within the Parliament, each deputy/senator is responsible for his own personal opinion (and his vote cannot be conditioned by the party he belongs to), so the deputies/senators can change their trust to the Government. This rule is meant to do so that the deputies/senators do the best for the country and not for their parties, which things, sometimes do not coincide.

Of course in the moment of the first Fiducia vote which ratify the Government, there is a reasonable certainity about the positive result of the vote, because the Presidente del Consiglio is nominated by the Presidente della Repubblica after he knows that a good enough part of the Parliament agrees with that choice. In order to estimate that choice, the Presidente della Repubblica makes a big work before the nomination. This job is called "Consultazioni". The Presidente della Repubblica formally meets each leader of the parties/Parliamentarian groups/Coalitions, one after the other, and tries to find out possible convergences of political programs that can rise an acceptable compromise among the parts. After the Consultazioni, the Presidente della Repubblica has a good estimation on which is the most stable agreement to support one candidate. The Fiducia vote's purpose is just to officially ratify what the parties/groups leaders already told the Presidente della Repubblica.

It can happen that, within a legislature period (5 years), the Parliament retires the Fiducia to the Government. Infact, if one important action of the Government for some reason does not obtain the majority of votes, the Government can ask, as an extreme measure, for a new Fiducia vote. If the Trust is given, the Government can act that action anyway, although it still does not have the support of the majority.
If the trust is not given (the result the Fiducia vote is negative), the Government is dissolved, the Presidente della Repubblica repeats the Consultazioni thing, he hopefully finds a new compromise among the parts and nominate another Presidente del Consiglio, who will nominate a new Government which will be subjected to another Fiducia vote.
It can happen that the Presidente della Repubblica, at this point, cannot find such a compromise among the parts, because the opinion of the parts are irreconciliable. Note that this is a very unfortunate event: usually there is more possible nomination as Presidente del Consiglio that can satisfy atleast the half+1 of the deputies and senators. But it can happen.
This event means that the Parliament cannot perform its main task, which is to express and support a Government. In this case the Presidente della Republica dissolve the Parliament and indict anticipated Political Elections ("Elezioni anticipate"). The citizens go to vote and elect a new Parliament in which, hopefully, the Presidente della Repubblica will be able to find a useful majority of the two chambers in order to nominate a Presidente del Consiglio and, hence, a Government.

The result of the 2013 Political Elections

The elections that we just made last week outcome with a very weird result.
There were the two main opposite coalitions: the Left (the main party is PD - Partito Democratico) and the Right (the main party is PdL - Popolo delle Liberta'). Then, historically, there was a third center coalition (UdC), which is numerically much smaller. Plus other small and unsignificant parties.
The really news of this year was M5S (Movimento 5 Stelle), which in the previous Political Election was not yet born.
In a Political Election, every coalition can suggest a candidate Presidente del Consiglio. A coalition engages to support that candidate, which thing makes the task of the Presidente della Repubblica easier and more appliable to the will of the citizens: he has to choose firstly among those elected candidates.
Follows the list of the options, with the supported candidate.
1- Left: Pierluigi Bersani
2- Right: Angelino Alfano (Berlusconi is the leader, but the candidate was Alfano)
3- Center: Mario Monti (the outgoing Presidente del Consiglio - this coalition includes UdC)
4- M5S: Gianroberto Casaleggio (the leader of the Movimento is Beppe Grillo)
5- Rivoluzione Civile: Antonio Ingroia
6- Fare per Fermare il Declino: Oscar Giannino

In this discussion i won't take in any consideration options 5 and 6, because numerically unsignificant.

Being that Berlusconi (and also a lot of people in his party) was judged corruptor and corruptable, and being that he really acted in the internal and foreign politics like a clown (clown #1 of the title of this post), the opponent coalition (Left) was expected to obtain a lot of consent among the citizens.
A lot of Berlusconi voters were expected to vote, if not for the Left, for the Center, being that Mario Monti, although performed a very rigid politics due to the international and national disastrous economical situation, was anyway very popular, helping a big raise on the international Italian credibility.
Also, some votes for Berlusconi were expected to be carried to M5S, which presented itself as a contestation movement against corruption in Politics.
In other words the expected result was a huge growth of the Left, a huge default of the Right, a good result for Monti and a some good numbers for M5S. Also a rise of the non-voters was expected (supporters of the Right are never expected to vote for the left on mass).
This could lead to an absolute majority of the Parliament for the Left, so a good opportunity for a stable Government. There still was the risk of not reaching the absolute majority in the Senate, in which case the Left could coalize upon a valid political program with Monti's Center. That was an option i wouldn't have liked, but still it was an option for a stable and secure government in a difficult situation, after almost 20 disastrous years of corruption, personal interest and degrade as prostitution in the hall of buttons of Berlusconi's Era.

The final result is that Berlusconi lost, but not so much, the Left gained, but not so much, Monti lost more than what expected and M5S, thanks also to the front man Beppe Grillo (clown #2) made a lot of consent. Also the abstention was not that big.
Thanks to the "premio di maggioranza" of the electoral system, in the Camera dei Deputati, nowadays, there is an absolute majority of the Left (with Bersani candidate prime minister), but in the Senate there is a mess.
The Left has a relative majority of Senators, but that number is not enough to reach the half+1 needed, not even adding the senators elected with Monti party (which is just a small number).
So, the only possible agreements for the Senate are these:
1) Left+Berlusconi, which, as you can imagine, the Left does not want. And i hope that won't be the conclusion, because i pray everyday that Italy won't have to bear such a jackass as Berlusconi anymore. It's humiliating.
2) Left+M5S. But, for now, the M5S refuses this solution.
Actually M5S refuses any possible alliance with other "traditional" parties, willing to stay at the opposition. It is understandable, because M5S was born for contesting against the political model, in particular with the structure of the Parties, which is accused to generate corruption and to protect the powerful hierarcs against any renovation of the Political class. In fact the elected deputies/senator of M5S are perfectly unkown people and they look like a bounch of Don Quixote fighting against windmills. On the other hands, a lot of elected deputies/senators of the big parties are the same old ones that are there since decades. Bersani himself (which i somehow like, but...) participied to the first (1996-98) and the second (2006-08) Government with Romano Prodi as Prime Minister. And he is in the PD's hierarchy since before the PD was born.
Another reason for Clown #2 not wanting to support any parties is that it is political convenience of his Movimento. If they don't participate in any Government, the Presidente della Repubblica must find an agreement between Left and Right. This will generate a very unstable Government mandate, which will probably fall after less than one year, showing everybody that nor Left nor Right is really able to govern the country, as Clown #2 keeps saying.

So, as it looks now, it seems that there is no condition of a possible agreement among the parts in order to form a majority able to support any Government. Which thing, as i was saying above, should lead to anticipate elections, called by the Presidente della Repubblica.

Personally i don't like this solution, because we just voted one week ago, so i don't see how the opinion of the citizens would be different now, after nothing happened.
Or, worse, it could be that the citizens would find out that this disaster we have after these past elections, are a proof that the traditional Politics cannot give an answer to the needs of the citizens, so, a new election would lead to an even more powerful Clown #2 (Beppe Grillo), which would lead to an even more difficult situation.

And, anyway, if this is not enough, there is another problem that complicates the situation even more.

The White Semester

As i was explaining in the previous post, the Parliament is renewed every 5 years (or when there is no more valid Trust in a Fiducia vote). The Presidente della Repubblica, instead, is elected every 7 years (or earlier in case of death or resignation).
The Parliament is renewed when the Presidente della Repubblica dissolves it and the Presidente della Repubblica is renewed by mean of elections by the Parliament.
Therefore there is a contraddiction of facts if the mandate of the Presidente della Repubblica terminates when there is no available Parliament to elect a new one. In that case there would be no Presidente della Repubblica to ratify a Parliament and no Parliament to elect a new Presidente della Repubblica.

There is a special law that is meant to avoid this contraddiction: during a period of six month before the expiration of the Presidente della Repubblica mandate, the Presidente della Repubblica cannot anticipately dissolve the Parliament. This period is called "Semestre Bianco" (White Semester). Kind of obvious why "Semester"; don't ask me why "White"...

Anyway, to complicate the actual situation, Giorgio Napolitano's mandate expires on May 2013. So, we hare in the right middle of the Semestre Bianco.
So, if there is no way to find an agreement between Left and M5S or between Left and Right, there is total ingovernability, because the Parliament is not able to ratify a Government, but in the same time it cannot be renewed.

To tell the truth, there is a last option. The so-called "Governo di Minoranza" (Minority Government).
Although the minority parties (Right and M5S) still declare not to support the proposed government, a big share of the Senators decide to abstain. In this way the absolute majority in the Senate can be reached with the favor of a minority of the Senators. This is a conscentious resolution of the opponency. It is also called "Non Sfiducia" ("un-mistrust"?!?). In this way the Government can be effective, but it's obvious that it cannot assume a support by the Parliament when some important actions need to be taken, because as there is one decision to be voted, also the deputies/senators that declared not to trust (or, better didn't declare to trust) the Government will be asked to vote.

Of course this solution is not desirable, being that it's not stable.
But it can be adopted in order to take few and limited actions for few months untill a new Presidente della Repubblica will be elected and will be able to call for new Political Elections.

This is the description (of mine) of the disastrous political situation we have in Italy.
It's more interesting to analyze the reasons we arrived to such a situation. I will give my opinion in the next post. Stay tuned!


tychecat said...

Thanks for the very interesting blogs, Dario.
I posted your blogger address on the TNS facebook and you seem to have collected a following of such as several of those doing the discussion have declared your comments a "Must Read"on the subject

dario said...

Thanks, Dick.
After spending energy in writing so much, it would have been unbareable the idea that nobody reads it :-)

As i told you, for some reasons i cannot access Facebook portal, so please, if there is some interesting hints about my posts, or in general Italian situation, please let me know about them.

Jones said...

Perfectly put Dario, sadly it is a terrible mess.