Italy Politics in the 21st Century Part II

The difficulties in reconciling the various political cultures represented there in government action constituted one of the crucial nodes of parliamentary activity, made critical also by the fact that only in the Chamber did the executive have a large majority. Engaged in the consolidation of public finances and in the arduous reform of the social security system, in February 2007 the government fell in the Senate over foreign policy issues. Confirmed in his place, Prodi was forced to resign permanently in 2008, after a new majority crisis determined by the resignation of the Minister of Justice Mastella, leader of the UDEUR.

The Berlusconi government. – According to TRAVELATIONARY, the early elections of April 2008, characterized by new processes of aggregation in the center-left (birth of the Democratic Party, PD, following the merger of DS and Margherita) and in the center-right (birth of the People of Freedom, PdL, following the merger of Forza Italia and AN) reported to the government S. Berlusconi, candidate of the People of Freedom, related to the Northern League and the Sicilian Movement for autonomies. The PD, in which some radical exponents had converged, had allied itself with the Italy of Di Pietro’s values. In addition to the two major formations and their allies, only the UDC, which had tried several times to define an autonomous line and relaunch a central policy and for this reason presented itself alone, obtained seats by overcoming the electoral barriers. All the other parties remained excluded from Parliament: from the Rainbow Left (which brought together the PRC and the Greens) to the Socialists, the Tricolor Flame Right and other minor formations of the extreme right and left. The worsening of economic problems due to the fallout at national level of the global economic and financial crisis has created serious problems for the executive, which has tried to plug the situation with cuts in public spending, penalizing for many sectors: from schoolsto cultural heritage, from healthcare to assistance. The policy of cost containment, firmly desired by the Minister of Finance G. Tremonti, created conflicts in the same majority, especially with the Northern League, exacerbating the internal malaise. In 2010, the co-founder of the People of Freedom G. Fini left the party and then founded a new one, Future and Freedom for Italy, passed to the opposition. The government has managed to keep the majority in Parliament, but has begun to lose more and more consensus also following the new scandals that have hit Prime MinisterĀ BerlusconiĀ (see).

The Monti government. – Faced with the growing economic deficit and the risk of default of the country, in November 2011, after the vote in the Chamber of Deputies on the state account, approved only thanks to the abstention of the opposition, Berlusconi resigned and the office of Prime Minister, was entrusted by President Napolitano to the economist M. Monti, who formed a new executive of technicians, supported by a broad transversal group. The Northern League switched to the opposition, while Di Pietro’s IdV reserved the right to vote on a case-by-case basis. Monti’s primary objective was to restore confidence in the markets by launching a series of measures to reduce the deficit based on the increase in taxation and on the fight against tax evasion. The government has also tackled the issue of liberalization and social security and has introduced new rules regarding the pension scheme, extending the working age. He then also addressed the thorny issue of labor market reform with the aim of allowing a greater degree of flexibility on the part of businesses, in particular flexibility on leaving. The modification of article 18 of the Workers’ Statute concerning the rules on dismissals has provoked a harsh confrontation with the trade union forces which animated the squares with demonstrations and marches. The spring of 2012 was characterized by new scandals relating to the embezzlement of funds guaranteed by the state to parties for the reimbursement of electoral expenses. In particular, the story concerned the former treasurer of Margherita and the Lega, whose leader U. Bossi was forced to resign. The affair has reopened the discussion on the costs of politics, particularly felt in a period of crisis and general sacrifices, and has fueled a growing intolerance towards parties and a widespread climate of anti-politics. The most penalized were the government parties, which in the administrative elections held in April in almost a thousand municipalities, recorded a sharp decline in consensus, while the other parties – PD, IdV, UDC – have to a greater or lesser extent maintaineduto their positions while failing to coagulate the general discontent that found expression above all in the clear affirmation in many cities of the 5-star Movement founded by Beppe Grillo, which presented itself as antithetical to traditional parties.In autumn 2012, while the government was preparing to launch, among many obstacles, the anti-corruption decree, new episodes of waste of public money and corruption of the political class came to the fore, in particular in relation to the scandal that broke out in the Lazio Region which involved the leader of the PDL Franco Fiorito arrested on charges of embezzlement, but also further investigations into new alleged offenses committed by administrators of the Lombardy Region, up to the dissolution of the Municipality of Reggio Calabria, a provision ordered by the Council of Ministers for contiguity mafia (October). Once again the condemnation of President Napolitano arose and the urgent call for a new morality of political commitment, indispensable for addressing the serious problems that afflicted the country:

The Berlusconi government