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Bersani wins only the Chamber of Deputies
A divided parliament
Article added on February 26, 2013 at 10:31 Italian time; correction at 11:36
  
In December, the opposition leader Bersani told Prime Minister Monti to stay out of the race, but Monti was ready to lead again. In the end, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi almost managed a comeback to the center stage of Italian politics. The populist and former comedian Beppe Grillo captured a quarter of the Italian vote. Bersani wins only the Chamber of Deputies. The result is a divided parliament in a time Italy, Europe and the world need stability.

The official result of the 2013 Italian parliamentary election according to the Ministry of Interior:
- Chamber of Deputies: Bersani 340 seats, Berlusconi 124, Grillo 108, Monti 45.
- Senate: Bersani 113 seats, Berlusconi 116, Grillo 54, Monti 18.

The Chamber of Deputies

In the Chamber of Deputies, thanks to Berlusconi's 2006-election law, the relative winner of the lower house election is automatically awarded 55% of the seats in the 630-seat Chamber, that is 340 mandates. The voter turnout was 75.19% for the Chamber of Deputies election. With only 29.54% of the vote, the former communist Pier Luigi Bersani and his center-left coalition won 340 seats. Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right coalition won 29.18% of the vote, but only 124 seats. The populist Beppe Grillo won with his 5-Star-Movement an astonishing 25.55% of the vote and 108 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. One quarter of the Italian electorate is visibly fed-up with the traditional parties and politicians. Will Beppe Grillo and his 5-Star-Movement manage to become a reliable partner?

The centrist coalition of the technocrat Prime Minister Marion Monti only won 10.56% of the vote and 45 seats in the Lower House. Among his allies are the Centrist Casini and the post-Fascist and former Berlusconi ally Fini, the President of the House of Deputies. Fini's party FLI won only 0.46% of the vote. Fini will not be part of the new parliament!

The Senate

The Senate candidates are elected regionally. Therefore, the relative winner is not automatically awarded a majority. Voter turnout in the 2013-Senate election was 75.11%. Bersani's center-left coalition won 31.63% of the vote, but only 113 (Bersani's party alone 105 seats) mandates in the 315-seat Senate, far from a majority. Berlusconi's center-right coalition won only 30.72% of the vote, but 116 seats. The populist 5-Star-Movement of Beppe Grillo won 23.79% and 54 seats. The caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti and his electoral coalition only managed to win 9.13% and 18 seats in the Senate.

Theoretically, Bersani and Grillo or Bersani together with Grillo and Monti could govern together. However, the former comedian Grillo made clear during the campaign that he would not enter a coalition formed by traditional parties. He is against pretty much anything and anyone.


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Italy's unsolved problems

Despite Mario Monti's success in stabilizing Italy with his cabinet of technocrats, the country's main problems remain unsolved.

Italy suffers from capital flight. Tax evasion is a national sport, also because the tax burden is one of the highest in Europe. In order to give Italy financial credibility, Mario Monti was forced to increase taxes and contributions. The established parties from the left and right could not agree on structural reforms. Furthermore, Monti himself and his ministers did not push hard enough for them. For instance the labor reform is far from convincing. At least Monti managed to push trough a pension reform.

In addition to the tax all-present fraud, Italy suffers from organized crime, including Cosa Nostra, Camorra and ’Ndrangheta. These organizations have an annual turnover of tens of billions of Euro.

As written above, Italy urgently needs a labor reform. The unemployment in Italy's poorer South has reached 18%, although only 39.6% of women in the South are part of the workforce. The overall youth unemployment rate in the whole of Italy is over 36%! Without excellent connections, it is almost impossible to get a job.

Italy's state sector is to big, inefficient and corrupt. A jungle of subsidies, corruption and cronyism are paralyzing the economy.

Scandals of fake disabled persons, dead people cashing in pensions and bus drivers on state payrolls without bus drivers licenses are some of the scandals that erupt from time to time. In short, the Italian problems are not only the result of corrupt politicians. The entire Italian society is affected.

The list of Italy's unsolved problems is long. Let's just mention one more in the end, the lack of rule of law. Lawsuits, even minor ones, take on average some 12 years to be resolved. Due process, the rule of law is vital for any economy and any society. How can you invest in such an environment?

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and the populist comedian Beppe Grillo are now in the position to block any reform in Italy. Together, they have a majority in the Senate. Will the center-left and the center-right be able to work together? Is a sort of late “historical compromise” possible, a compromesso storico as once envisioned between the Communists and the Christian-Democrats, but never achieved? Will Italy be governed again by a cabinet of technocrats? Will early elections take place?

Italy needs stability, the rule of law, structural reforms and more. Are the parties in parliament ready for this? A majority of Italians still does not seem to understand the gravity of their situation. The political instability is only the reflection of a divided society. In the long run, in democracies, you get the government (and the parliament) you deserve. - Libri sulla storia italiana.









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