Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Point of Italian Elections

This post is not about my ideological preferece for the centre-right or the centre left coalition. It is For Love of My Country, to put it in Republican terms.

In the last 10 years, Italy saw relatively stable governments. From 96 to 2001, the centre left governed. From 2001 to 2006, it was the turn of the centre right. Stability, I believe, is an essential precondition of governability. In other words, the country needs continuity in order to shape efficacious policies. These two are different things, but deeply related.

The point of these elections is to make sure that what we gain (stability) is not lost. Italy is in desperate need of being a normal country, with a plain bipolar system {tripolar is also a possibility, although it is obviously less stable).

Prodi and Berlusconi are not the point of these elections. Both represent the past of the country. Both have achieved something and did some less than great things. Berlusconi, on top of that, did quite badly in the last five years, in my opinion. But this is something that each italian can evaluate for himself.

Berlusconi and Prodi stand in the way of a new, reformed, italian politics. They did their fair bit in the past, and both contributed to the relative stability of the country. But now, we have to use stability to move Italy forward.

Unfortunately, these elections saw the electoral law changed. From a rather straightforward majority rule we move back to a proportional system, which is likely to strengthen the role of small parties and undermine stability.

So the point and the future of Italy is a bit of a dilemma. Prodi and Berlusconi represent a stable Italy without much content. 'New forces' represent a new political horizon, but at the same time more instability on the political scene.

I'd like to get rid of Berlusconi and Prodi, but I urge everyone who will come after the present leaders to cherish some of their heritage and to build, together, in a discoursive, but not always confrontational way, a new and better dream for Italy.

1 comment:

Srdjan Cvijic said...

It is my country too, despite the fact that I am not a citizen and that I am dennied the right to vote in national elections...to put it in non-republican terms:)The plague of Berlusconi must go away from Italian politics...not that he is the only corrupt politician but he is the epithomy of the destruction of the system, rule of law...