(Thomas Hawk, Game Over)
[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - On Wednesday the Italian Government won a motion aimed at dismissing Giacomo Caliendo, an Undersecretary for Justice accused of belonging to a secret organization. Nevertheless, it proved to have lost parliamentary majority, the motion being rejected with 299 votes to 229 and 75 abstentions since Future and Freedom - led by the former ally Gianfranco Fini - decided to abstain (1).
The Italian Government will thus find very hard to survive as far as September: "It is over. The ghost ship of Berlusconi's government is drifting" explained Massimo Giannini (2). The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, might soon have to check whether the Parliament is able to support a new government or it is time for early elections.
Even though divided, opposition parties could agree to support a new prime minister. Given that "it is urgent to dismantle the method of government put into practice during these years" (3), the country has to face two hanging problems: to begin with, € 100 bn of public debt expiring in October might put Italy under severe pressure on the financial markets (4); secondly, the current voting system prevents citizens from choosing their representatives, thus weakening any prospective winner.
Many observers see in Mario Draghi, the Governor of the Bank of Italy, the best candidate to replace Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Minister. Mr Draghi might indeed succeed in keeping public debt under control and in restarting the fight against tax evasion, while the Parliament should focus on reforming the voting system.
In the meantime, as arguably outlined by the Times, and sadly enough: "As Europe emerges from recession, Italy finds itself in a lonely, weak position. It has avoided the debt crisis that Greece brought on itself, but it is barely more stable. It lacks any voice in the big debates" (5).
(1) Christina Passariello and Margherita Stancati, "Berlusconi prevails in vote", wsj.com, August 5th 2010.
(2) Massimo Giannini, "Le anime morte", repubblica.it, August 5th 2010.
(3) Nadia Urbinati, "La politica dell'antistato", repubblica.it, August 3rd 2010.
(4) Eugenio Scalfari, "Dove porta il Paese l'avventura del Cavaliere", repubblica.it, August 1st 2010.
(5) "Berlusconi's Reckoning", timesplus.co.uk, August 3rd 2010.