Italian Elections: A Comedy Of Errors?
Italy is world renowned for its arts and architecture. In recent decades, it has also gained notoriety for its politics. The country held its general elections earlier this week and the results were a total surprise.
No party got a clear margin. Interestingly, a protest movement led by former comedian Beppe Grillo grabbed a quarter of the votes and the most seats by any single party. The elections also saw Silvio Berlusconi, who was forced to step down last year after a scandal, stand for elections again -- and win votes!
Italy is the third largest economy in the European Union. The global financial crisis combined with the high levels of corruption have left the country mired in debt. The European Union (EU), which Italy is a part of, has imposed strict measures on the country -- which as you can imagine are hugely unpopular.
A Mixed Bag..
The election results were as divided as it could get. In the lower house, the left-leaning coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani won 29.5% of the votes, while Silvio Berlusconi's right-leaning coalition got 29.2% of the seats. The pattern was repeated in the upper house too. The dark horse was Grillo's protest movement that took a quarter of the votes.
Grillo now holds the trump card. Without a clear majority by either the right or the left, one of them will have to align with his party. A once-banned comedian for his jokes on ruling lawmakers, Grillo is against cutting a deal with either party, blaming both for corruption and supporting the EU's tough measures.
Italy – a political theater
Italy has had several dozen governments rule it since World War II. In the 1990s corruption scandal, many former prime ministers, politicians and businessmen were implicated. The investigation is still on. The operation that exposed the corruption has done little to reform Italy's political culture. In the last decade, Silvio Berlusconi, a multi-millionaire businessman has been mired in scandals and corruption affairs.
In November 2011, Mario Monti, an economist, took over as the head of a government after Berlusconi resigned amid the country's debt crisis. Italy, once home to specialized industries such as textiles and car manufacturing, has seen its economy face a gradual decline.
Can a comedian save Italy's economy? Or will the country go back to its people for another vote? The world is watching with bated breath.
Courtesy: BBC, CNN