Italy. The parliamentary elections that took place in the spring dramatically changed Italy’s political landscape. More than anywhere else in Europe, the trend of traditional parties being pushed back in favor of populist forces became true. The former government party, the Social Democratic Democratic Party (PD) suffered a stinging defeat and the election was also a setback for Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing party Forza Italia (Heja Italy).
According to Countryaah.com, Rome is the capital city of Italy, a country located in Southern Europe. The big winner was the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) created by comedian Beppe Grillo, and now led by Luigi Di Maio, a 31-year-old with no great experience in politics or professional work. The other populist winning party became La Lega under leader Matteo Salvini, a professional politician who soon emerged as Italy’s strong man, not least as the party’s opinion figures have increased dramatically since the election to the detriment of the coalition partner Five Star Movement.
The dispute between the two over the post of prime minister was resolved by the assignment going to the hitherto unknown university lecturer Giuseppe Conte, who has since assumed a near-ceremonial role and who obviously has not had any major power in the government. Instead, power came more and more to Salvini during the year. He has, by virtue of his office as Minister of the Interior, concentrated on the party’s core issue: immigration.
Originally the party was called Lega Nord – the Nordic League – and had the separatism between the richer Northern Italy and the poorer Southern Italy, mainly on the program. At the same time as Salvini renamed the party to La La Lega, the political message changed to become nationalist and xenophobic. During the year, Salvini, as Minister of the Interior, took measures against migrants and refugees, which attracted considerable international attention. Among other things, he prevented the large rescue ship Aquarius with more than 600 migrants on board from entering the Italian port. The ship was eventually received by Spain. The popular resistance to migration was mainly aroused during the dramatic year 2015, when about 600,000 migrants applied to Italy.
During the autumn, the government presented a budget proposal that led to strained relations with the European Commission. The proposed budget was rejected in Brussels, where fears were raised about a government-financed bankruptcy in the eurozone’s third-largest economy. The concern arose in the light of Italy’s gigantic government debt, which, according to the European Commission, is incompatible with the Italian government’s expansive spending plans, which were based on a combination of tax cuts and expensive social investment.
The European Commission, despite its concerns, proceeded with caution and reached a temporary compromise with Italy on a slightly revised budget. No drastic changes needed to be made in a budget that included, among other things, flat tax for the rich, citizen pay for the poor and reduced retirement age for all. Both Brussels and Rome looked ahead to the 2019 elections to the European Parliament. From the EU point of view, perhaps with the budget compromise, they would avoid appearing as a scapegoat, if the generous pledges of the government parties to Italy’s voters had been drastically cut.
2011 Exit democracy
In November, international financial capital forced the abolition of democracy in the country when former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was deposed and replaced by technocrat Mario Monti. The background was the global economic crisis, in which international financial capital, through speculation, had lost an unknown number of billions. The financial liquidity’s global liquidity was therefore greatly weakened. Italy, where the yield on its government bonds rose dramatically to over 7%. This forced the Berlusconi government to resign, and the country’s former prime minister was immediately put on trial for extensive economic crime. He had until then been protected by his parliamentary immunity.
Monti’s technocrat ruled Italy through 2012. Increased taxes and social welfare, with the economy shrinking and unemployment rising. The technocrat stated that the country’s young people should not count on getting a permanent job, but that it was also “healthy to change from job to job”.
In April 2012, Italy signed an agreement with Libya to limit the flow of refugees from Africa. Under Gaddafi such agreements existed, limiting the flow of refugees out of Libya towards Italy in particular, but with Gaddafi’s fall in 2011 the locks were removed. However, the new agreement did not restrict the flow significantly. Every year, thousands of Africans try to cross the Mediterranean towards Europe and hundreds of people drown on the sea.
In July 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the judgments of 25 senior officials and police officers for their torture and mistreatment of protesters on July 21, 2001 in Genoa. High officials were also convicted of falsifying documents about the events. The sentences were from 3 years and 8 months in prison to 5 years. But since there is a law to limit the number of prisoners in Italian prisons, the sentences are de facto reduced by 3 years, and none of the 25 convicts were therefore jailed. However, they were all suspended from service for 5 years.
In September 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of 22 CIA agents, a North American officer and 2 Italian intelligence officers for abducting Usama Mostafa Hassan Nasr in Milan in March 2003 and bringing him to Egypt, where he was subjected to torture by US friends: the Mubarak dictatorship. The North American accused were sentenced in absentia. The Supreme Court also ordered 5 other top Italian intelligence officers to stand trial for their participation in the affair. They were otherwise released in 2010 when a court of appeals in Milan had decided that their cases could not be tried as it would “reveal state secrets”. Also in September, the European Parliament called on all Member States to publish all information on US rendition programs in Europe.
While police officers in Denmark cannot be convicted of murder, in 2012 two Italian police officers were convicted of murder in the service.
Italy conducted parliamentary elections in February 2013. The election gave the left-wing coalition 29.5% of the vote, while Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition got 29.1%. Furthermore, a new large protest party entered parliament with 25.5% of the vote. The comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement had been formed just 2 years earlier as a right-wing protest party against the corrupt parties in parliament and their corrupt politicians. The muddy composition of Parliament made it exceptionally difficult to put together a government that would have a majority in both chambers of Congress. Left wing coalition leader Pier Luigi Bersani tried to form government in March, but precluded Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition in advance. Instead, Bersani tried to form a coalition with Beppe Grillo, but even though some newly elected parliamentarians in the protest party wanted to join, it proved impossible to involve the protest party. A month later, Bersani resigned as his coalition leader after a chaotic election of president. The new leader,Enrico Letta realized that there was no way around Berlusconi’s coalition and formed in late April consisting of the 2 major coalitions and 3 smaller bourgeois parties. Letta herself became prime minister. The failure to bridge from left to right was due to, among other things, that Letta’s uncle, Gianni Letta was one of Berlusconi’s closest advisers.
Despite his high age (87), Giorgio Napolitano reluctantly opted for a second term as president in April 2013 with 73.3% of Congress votes. He thus became the first Italian president to be elected to a second term.