Monday, November 14, 2011

The Day After....Berlusconi

Traveling through a country does not only involve the often superficial activity of moving from place to place watching the world around you as if you were in a zoo. The real traveler, though short his visit may be, always tries to get to the ore of things, and however a hard job this is, it rewards her much in the end.

Traveling through Italy, or any other country for that matter, also involves talking about its political happenings. Even more so if you are armchair traveling while reading my subjective and instinctively written articles. It is the right way of traveling as it adds a third dimension to your point of view, giving you the instruments to get a rounder picture even on more ephemeral subjects I will be addressing in later posts.

The big news of these days is that, after Papandreu's leave of office in Greece, Berlusconi, Italy's (former) prime minister, resigned from his post to give way to a technical government headed by Mr. Monti.

What is a technical government? Non-Italians like me might have a hard time grasping this concept at first. It is a concept that speaks of Italian culture. This type of government, literally, is one set in place to "get the job done". Yes, it sounds absurd. What are non-technical governments there for, then?

First of all, governments elected through regular elections, such as the one that just fell in Italy, are supposedly formed by politically prepared people that have good leadership. They are managers, but need (economy, medicine, education, transportation) expert consultants to run the show. During the so-called technical government, one that was not elected by the Italian people but appointed by the leaving government and the President of the Republic, you just have these expert consultants running the show. It's like a company downsize, when marketing and PR are trimmed to fuel the R&D department.

Berlusconi's government was really (REALLY!) big in marketing and PR, however lacked much expertise, and the ability to pull it together into a synergistic strategy. The mix was composed of very young ministers, of whom many coming from the show business, others without a properly developed cultural background, but most importantly of frail alliances that always threatened the stability of the government and brought to a stalling legislative motor.

The Lega Nord party especially leveraged on its small number of seats that nevertheless allowed Berlusconi to remain the Prime Minister of Italy, while pushing towards its pet interests at the expense of the whole country.

This brings about the new electoral law that 1.2 million Italians dearly desire to the point of subscribing a referendum request on this matter. You see, in Italy at this stage any party is a big box that gets voted, then filled with all sorts of people. You elect a brand, not the people representing you. This was supposed to create stability in a country that up to the end of the 20th century had had more than fifty governments in less than fifty years with hundreds of parties represented. However, stability (and democracy) was compromised by allowing medium parties to partner up with smaller ones, so to reach the minimum required number of seats to gain the majority and govern. Problem is, these parties often come from very different ideological backgrounds. As a result, and to much dislike of electors, if one wants to vote for the left wing alliance, she will end up giving her vote also to center-right parties participating into the alliance. And if that alliance wins, then you will probably see "your" government act in favor of ideologies totally foreign to its original intents. And this is done just to foster stability (or keep their well-paid seat, as they say in Italy). Otherwise their political allies might abandon the crew and let the boat sink (as Lega Nord continuously threatened to do).

On the part of Italians, Berlusconi's demise was reason to carousel along the streets of many cities, as if Italy had won the World Cup. The vast majority of Italians could not stand his empty promises served on a plate decorated with sexism, racism, egocentrism, bad manners and bad taste anymore. On my part, I will remove the poll on this blog with the question "Do Italians Deserve Berlusconi?" and give it a resounding "no" as an answer.

0 commenti:


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites