February 6, 2013
When political polls show an unpredictable outcome then the situation of a country becomes dangerous. It becomes frightening if that country is stuck in a crisis while candidates of all colours race with each other in making unconvincing promises to lure voters, in the knowledge that those promises blow with the sure breeze of the day after the ballot.
Just two months ago the “Partito Democratico-PD” was in a comfortable lead of 33% against the 15% held by the runner up “Popolo della Libertà”. As Mr Berlusconi (PdL) decided to lead the campaign, step by step, tv show by tv show, gag by gag, PdL+Lega Nord rose to 27-28% while the PD+SEL coalition is today sheltered behind their 31-33%. Mr Monti coalition is lagging behind in a 13-15% range and elections are due on 24-25 February.
The “unaware” would say that this is normal and a race is part of the game, but is it? Considering that Mr Berlusconi has governed Italy with untenable results for the last 18 years interrupted by last year’ stint of a technical government led by Mr Monti who begun –just begun- to set the country in order, then the renovated consensus gained by the former leader (Berlusconi) leaves the observer astound. In a way, the fact explains the success of the populist “Movimento 5 Stelle-M5S” who rose to 15-16% from nothing and, unquestionably, the dull campaign led by PD whose leader, Mr Bersani, does not show the financial clout enjoyed by his antagonist.
A further reason is due to the widespread disaffection of the citizen (60%) for politicians that, in many cases, are meant as synonym of corruption, over-age and unreliability. How to respond to adult teenagers who reason “they all are dodgy; I may as well vote Berlusconi, at any rate I can get amused”? Undoubtedly, family and school education must share a fault about this.
The big mistake. Mr Monti, leader of the incumbent technical government and internationally renowned economist, decided to join in the race to form a new political government in a coalition with UDC led by Mr Casini, close to the Catholic Church, and rightist FLI led by Mr Fini. As a single politician Mr Monti scored in excess of 50% but gone down in the mentioned coalition his score hardly exceeds 13% today.
Two reasons may be advanced for that: by diving together with experienced politicians in a hard-fought political campaign the man looks like a displaced person, unable to inflict dirty tricks in the form of “dreams” to lure voters. Besides, the proximity with a powerful all-invasive Church may have scared plenty of voters.
And Movimento 5 Stelle? The leftist and populist party, a first-time entrant, epitomises the disgruntled portion of population complaining for a plethora of reasons, going from the corrupt administration to the high level of unemployment, the common currency, globalization, etc. A number of unknown young candidates (70-90) will enter parliament for the first time and this is not wrong in itself; they will not have a weighty influence but they may fill a purpose. They promise to play the watchdog against embezzlement, mishmash and treachery; if true they would contribute with an added value.
The likely outcome? Words are circulating that Mr Bersani (PD) would mingle with the Monti coalition to form a centre-left government and have majority in both houses. It would be the least evil in a landscape full with precipices.Elio Pennisi