Is Italian democracy awakened from sleep?




In a referendum held in Italy to reduce the number of seats in both houses of parliament, almost 70 percent of those who voted favored this step, which the Five Star Movement insisted on. In parallel regional elections, the right-wing League party missed out on the victory it had hoped for. Will the ruling coalition led by Giuseppe Conte win in this election? Press opinions differ.





From scapegoat to election winner


The Democratic Party of Italy (PD) and its chairman, Nicola Zingaretti, became the undisputed winners of these elections, according to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper:

“The lone winner of the regional elections is a politician who has hanged 24 hours ago ahead of time for a seemingly inevitable defeat. He was a real sacrificial lamb, targeted by the opposition and attacked within the ruling coalition. ... He lost one area, the Marche, but retained Tuscany, Puglia, and Campania. Both from a political and psychological point of view, this is enough — and even more than enough — to talk about success: especially with a turnout that surpassed all expectations and fears in connection with the epidemic.“


Don't gloss over disagreements


The fact that the voting results for the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement were less dismal than expected should not be misleading about the stability of the ruling coalition, Corriere del Ticino argues:

“Former leader of the Five Star Movement Luigi Di Mayo spoke yesterday in the most solemn tones about the success of the referendum. ... However, on the ground, as a result of these regional elections, the Five-Star Movement lost a significant number of votes. Not to mention serious disagreements within the Movement itself over regional electoral alliances with the Democratic Party. ... The General Secretary of the Democratic Party Nicola Zingaretti also preferred to close his eyes to the problems of the government coalition: disagreements are observed not only with his partner in the elections — the Five Stars Movement — but also within the party itself. So, for example, not all members of the Democratic Party voted for the reduction of one-third of the seats in parliament.“





Essentially, nothing has changed


According to the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, the citizens of Italy will continue to have grounds for dissatisfaction with their parliament:

“This parliament is too big and too expensive for us! ... In the eyes of the population, he does not represent the people, since party lists are determined by the leadership of the parties, and not by the voters themselves. In addition, the work of the parliament is perceived by the people ... like an endless series of backroom deals. And no very remarkable referendum will change anything in essence. The money saved is simply scanty ... nothing has changed in the electoral system, and political practice, for the most part, consists of behind-the-scenes bargaining, and this is in the nature of things. ... And most importantly, the bicameral system remains, which often leads to detours and blockages in the course of the legislative process — even though elections to both chambers are usually held simultaneously — and if the balance of political forces in them is different, it is only minimal.“





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