Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Italian Two-Party System Is Dead



While waiting for the fall of Silvio Berlusconi's government, the Democratic Party is incredibly motionless.

Pierferdinando Casini's Union of the Center and Gianfranco Fini's Future and Freedom are making the first difficult steps to form a 'third pole' aimed at gaining support from the two main pillars of the current government: Confindustria and the Catholic Church (1).

On the contrary, the Democratic Party stands still. Having spent three years following a demagogic 'stuck in the middle' strategy, the party is imprisoned in the false myth of a non-existent two-party system which should oppose the Democratic Party itself to Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom.

As explained by Curzio Maltese, instead, "What we had in Italy since 1994 is not a two-party system [...] A false two-party system such as ours could produce nothing but waves of transformism, hundreds of cases of coat-change inconceivable for any other western democracy" (2).

The Democratic Party should thus open itself to society and tell straightforward its plans for the future to the Italian citizens. As Eugenio Scalfari warned, "If the party keeps itself within the limits of its members and its oligarchy, the game is lost" (3).

Having denied this priority for a while, the party has eventually the duty "to fight the 'Cavaliere' on grounds of public ethics, legality and the formation of public opinion through the media" (4). The Italian Parliament may indeed take down the government, but it will not be able to remove the conflict of interest still making Silvio Berlusconi a media-tycoon as well as a political leader.

Moreover, even though Italy needs a new government, early elections are still the strongest option on the field: as asked by Luigi De Magistris, Italian MEP for the Italy of Values (5), the Democratic Party has to accept the challenge of coalition primary elections.

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(1) Guy Dinmore and Giulia Segreti, "Italian 'third pole' to challenge Berlusconi", ft.com, August 12th 2010.

(2) "Quello che abbiamo avuto in Italia dal '94 a oggi non è bipolarismo. [...] Un falso bipolarismo come il nostro non poteva che produrre ondate di trasformismo, centinaia di cambi di casacca impensabili nelle altre democrazie occidentali". Curzio Maltese, "La catastrofe da evitare", repubblica.it, August 6th 2010.

(3) "Se il partito resta nei limiti dei soli iscritti e dell'oligarchia che ne è l'espressione, la partita è chiusa". Eugenio Scalfari, "Il bastone della Lega deciderà la partita", repubblica.it, August 8th 2010.

(4) "combattere il Cavaliere sul terreno dell'etica pubblica, della legalità, della formazione dell'opinione pubblica attraverso i media." Barbara Spinelli, "La sinistra non tiene il passo di Fini", stampa.it, August 8th 2010.

(5) Marco Lillo, "De Magistris: 'Mi candido se Tonino dice sì'", interview with Luigi De Magistris, ilfattoquotidiano.it, August 12th 2010.

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