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02/24/2013 - 10:12

Beppe Grillo? Berlusconi? Bersani? Monti? (In strict alphabetical order) Who will win? Any bets?



My order of preference would be: Bersani; Monti; Grillo; Berlusconi. Bersani promises to focus on job creation and stimulating the economy Monti has proved himself capable and honest, though his austerity programme is not popular Grillo is a good laugh! He is capitalising on the current disillusionment with all politicians, but the danger is that he might split the anti- Belusconi vote. Berlusconi won't win, but enough people might vote for him to enable him to prevent a ruling majority and carry on making mischief. By rights he should be in jail.

I think Bersani will probably get it, but without an outright majority.  Grillo will get enough to force issues - and at least do something on electoral reform (along wiith the Montini) before the government falls.  Then  I think Bersani will go and Renzi will come along, and take all the centre ground adn win a decent majority by next Xmas. 

I rather hope you are right Ram: my reading is that Grillo will do spectacularly well, and Berlusconi will do better than expected. Bersani might be able to cobble together a short-lived coalition - but I don't see him vacating top spot of the PD, so if I were Renzi I'd decide my political future lay elsewhere. It's a mess. 

Grillo seems to have different agendas to those who are actually standing for the lower house in his party; I've seen several interviews who say that what the 5 Star party stand for is not what Grillo actually says i.e. referendum on the Euro etc. As he will not be taking a seat and is only the Spokesperson for the movement, in typical Italian fashion the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.... The safe bet is a Bersani/Monti coalition.

  • I would also think that a Bersani/Monti coalition may be a sensible solution; however, Grillo is a wild card -and people feel frustrated and may vote for his group as a protest - and Berlusconi may still surprise us. I do not think that there would be a safe bet on this issue as results are highly unpredictable. 

Well voting has now closed and going by the online voting info from the Comune, it looks like a good turnout with nearly  70% of the Electorate voting, if the figures are to be believed. The overwhelming feeling by talking to various people is that the Centre Left will gain control over both Houses. Let the counting begin....

Sorry, Ram. I have to disagree with part of your post. The costs of the election of a new Pope will not be an extra burden to Italy. First, the Lateran Treaty makes no special provisions for this type of ancillary costs. Second, it is a piece of fake news by some Italian media as clearly explained in in their entry from the 15th current. (A very interesting blog, I may add)  I would add that the Pope's election may bring in extra tourists ond more money. Regarding possible savings, I sould say that Bersani should ask Renzi to take over and implement all his proposals and that would save a lot of money. And I would ask Monti to continue with austerity measures but also look at more development of the economy to avoid stagnation. He should start getting rid of Brussel's and Germany's directives. And, definitely, I would ask both Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo to stop clowning around. As for the Italians, in general, to look first after the good of Italy and less into their own pockets. 

That'll be a first Gala. Italians have for a long time now, and I am generalising here, have a '' I'm all right Giacomo '' outlook, especially in rural Italy; that's why the Politics of Berlusconi have been successful. His main thrust in this election has been scrapping the IMU and refunding last year, which is now getting funds back into the Comunes at last, albeit paltry sums in context to what they now need. The main problem as I see it is the lack of someone to overall the Political system and cut down the number of upper and lower house members, and start trimming the fat off the lumbering Government beast. Then again it would mean stopping the easy ride for most politicians, which brings us back to the beginning again and self betterment. Grillo did so well because the public at last see that the whole system needs to change before politics, right or left can make any measures work.

Although Grillo and Berlusconi are very different, they do have one thing in common, they are "populists". and populism is dangerous, it has always been. Scraping the IMU and refunding monies is a promise that Italy cannot afford. Local Councils need that money to function. And more... Grillo goes into a frenzy critizising everyone and everything, but I cannot see real programs and policies. So anyone disgruntled will give him a protest vote. On the other hand, complaining will not solve problems. MOnti did what he had to do, or what he was asked to do; however, he did not realize that austerity alone will not pull out a country out of an economic crisis (never mind, others are doing the same thing i.e Rajoy in Spain). And then, the centre-left. Bersani was not the person to lead them. Renzi was.

The traditional left will always vote the left. Berlusconi does not represent the centre-right. He is a populist and has his own agenda... not to mention that he is an embarrassment. Grillo got the vote from the disgruntled who want to protest and cannot find a better way. Monti... we all know what has happened. Italy needs a new genaration of politicians. these are old men, old ideas, no innovation, no future... I like Monti's newly adopted dog, "Empatia", or "Empy" for short. "Empy for Prime Minister!"  At least she is cute...

"Berlusconi ................ not to mention that he is an embarrassment". A bit of bandwaggoning going on here. Berlusconi took about 70% of the vote in his most recent successful election and only became an "embarrassment" because Wall St needed to attack the Euro in order to shore up the ailing dollar, hence targetted a propaganda campaign against him. Suddenly, everyone held an opinion which agreed with the propaganda - job done! Incidentally, I'm not necessarily FOR Berlusconi, but I refuse to be AGAINST him because of US propaganda. And I question anybody who refuses to take seriously one of Italy's most successful modern politicians whilst apparently taking Grillo seriously. Now that is surely the influence of populism.

To suggest that Berlusconi was even approaching 'okayish' until "Wall Street needed to attack the Euro" is a most bizarre reading of the biography of this self-serving criminal! I'm a great fan of all conspiracy theories, but what you are suggesting is so far out of left-field that I can't imagine where you plucked it from.  crying

Nobody would ever be elected if they were not populist.  It is unthinkable that in any democracy an unpopular person would be voted in.  So, populism IS the democratic principle - otherwise Berlusconi would not have won so many times.  Gaia - Im sure you speak from the heart, but the Vatican costs Italians and Italy millions and millions - we are at the behest of the Vartican to pay for everything.  transport, security, even flowers for gods sake.  It is completely false to say that the Vatican is no burden on the state.  The Church doesnt even pay to restore its own buildings, or pay tax on them.   If the Vatican got no benefit do you think they would have hung onto it so tenaciously?   A biased blog does not negate the facts. Tourists bringing in money? Yes, but pilgrims dont.- speak to any bar owner in Rome and they despair of pilgrims - thermos and a pack of sandwiches doesnt help much!  Berlusconi has never taken 70% of the vote.  This time he took 30.5%, last time he took less than 35%

I think you are slightly wrong in assuming that Grillo got his votes from the 'disgruntled'; speaking to quite a few people who voted for his party, it seems that they were excited at the possibility of a wholesale change in how Italy is governed, and their candidates were mainly 'Professionals' who saw at first hand how Italy is being 'raped' by people out for their own good. It is easy to believe the spin placed on Grillo and his followers by the media, because it has been a long time since any politician seemed to have the Countries rather than the Individuals welfare at heart. Far from being a shouty Clown Gala, a lot of people think Grillo is a viable alternative to either 'Populist' Parties; and by the percentage of votes his party received, I tend to believe it. Let the bargaining begin.....

I suspect RAM's original prediction might well be correct. My personal opinion is that the majority of those that voted for Grillo did so as they feel they have nothing to lose and that they are not heard and so I am not convinced his support will fall at any subsequent election. This will also depend upon if the movement sticks to its principles in the meantime. I cannot be dismayed/disappointed or any other adjective when the people of a democracy express their opinion via the ballot box. That is the whole point of an election and I find it extremely irritating to read or hear people saying it is a disaster for the country. It might be or it might not be, but the point is it will be a disaster or succes of the people's choosing and not some grey-suited elderly man on €32k a month who is only in it for the money or his personal gain. These people (like the Eurocrats) are so removed from everyday life and coccooned in their own little world that they have little or nothing in common with regular people. What other voice do the young of Italy have today? They are not represented by the political establishment. They see no jobs on the horizon. They have little opportunities. Good on M5S I say. Italy is ripe for a change and I very much hope they are able to achieve it. For that we will just have to wait and see.

In reply to by Penny

The idea that M5S voters were all yoof is not correct (though of course it suits the Italian press to promulgate this myth). There is a reasonably authoritative research crew, from Britain, called DEMOS, and they identified the M5S voters as predominantly mature (over 30), male, and highly educated. Just the sort of people who are likely to have thought through the consequences of their voting preference. Other than that I agree with most of what Penny has said.

There was a great article in once of the papers yesterday (La Stampa or Il Secolo XIX) that broke down the prospective members of each house by party. It was very interesting. 82% of M5S had a degee (the highest) and the average age of their MP's was 32 (the lowest). The average age of PDL's coalition's MP's was 57 and PD's 48 (or 52 - sorry can't remember). 98% of the M5S MP's were in politics for the first time and only 0.2% came from local politics. Something that I certainly never realised before was that you have to be 25 to vote for the Senate but only 18 to vote for the Camera which seems bizarre to me.

All the protest movements in Europe - the first one took place in Spain in May 2011 under the name of "Indignados" - originate from the book "Indignez-vous" by French author Stéphane Hessel, who passed away just today.! The book is very interesting, I read it; however, I failed to see real solutions. Protest in itself may be good, although destructive. To make it into a positive movement, you have to offer alternatives and a pathway. Grillo yells, screams, insults (remember the Levi-Montalcini deplorable incident) but does not even want to be part of a government. He prefers to play the pupeteer role. Protest movements have not achieved much since 2011. Most of them are highly disorganized, without a real direction, purpose and leaders. I do not deny that the majority of those people wanting a change are genuine; however, good intentions are not enough and the political and power corridors are long and narrow and more like a labyrinth for newcomers. In any case, they only represent 1 in every 4 Italians, they may hold the balance of power but they will have to be very smart to handle this power properly. In any case, God save Italy!It will really need divine intervention.  

Flip, thank you for the information on the BBC program, I will try to watch it. In Spain - where I am at present - the Italian situation is getting wide coverage as it is affecting Spain´s stock exchange and the interest that we have to pay on bonds. It has gone up because of the uncertainty of the results. All economies are interlinked and affect all of us.

Ram, I do think that you are mistaken concerning what the Catholic Church in Italy gets from the Italian government. The Lateran Treaty was a compensation from the loss of the Papal States after the unification of Italy: which represented a big chunk of current Italian territory, namely Lazio, Romagna, Umbria and Marche, plus a few bits and pieces. The "Otto per mille" that the Church gets, plus tax concessions, etc. are a minor prize compared to the value of those territories. You are a real estate person, you would know. On the other hand, the Church has to maintain over 65,000 buildings, many of them needing repairs and they are not maintained by the Italian government. To give you an example, there are currently quite a few appeals from the Bagni di Lucca parishes to rebuild bell towers and bits and pieces that are falling apart. And some of these churches are fine Romanic examples, which are open to the public. No fees are charged. Contrary to what happens in other countries, most Italian churches, many of them real masterpieces, are open for anyone to visit without paying a cent. And who looks after them? The Church. As for flowers, electricity and all the expenditure related to those churches, again is up to the local parish. I can even tell you how much is spent monthly on flowers at Bagni di Lucca and how the ladies who help with that have to perform miracles with that little money. Furthermore, the Italian Catholic Church through its organisation "Caritas" looks after people in need (during and long after the Aquila earthquake it played a vital role and it keeps on doing it in the North after the 2012 earthquake), migrants, the elderly and many others who would not be looked after by government bodies. It is also present in 64 other countries and almost 60 million euro from the (8 per 1000) go there. Difficult to ascertain the real value of that work as most is done by volunteers, using premises that belong to the Church. Regarding pilgrim's contribution to the Italian economy, I think that you may be thinking of the Youth meetings and not the millions of religious tourists who make a solid contribution to the economy and do not eat sandwiches at St Peter's square. Ram, I am afraid that you have not been told the whole story. The blog that I recommended has no affiliations, they simply denounce fake news without looking at the topic or having any pre-conceived ideas. It is an excellent source of information. And my apologies to other members for this answer that has little to do with the main topic, but I could not do it otherwise.  

It is not that Grillo does not want to be part of government necessarily but M5S have a rule that no-one convicted of a crime may serve. He was convicted of manslaughter over a car crash so is ruled out.

But,personally i do not trust Bersani either.His whole campaign showed how he had not grasped the fundamental need for change and with the usual arrogance of the Italian left wing (all old ex comunists)their "central office" favoured Bersani over Renzi (who would have given them a chance) they also did not absorb really any of the issues raised by 5 stelle which might have taken some of the wind out of their sails and were fortunately duly punished by the electorate.

THanks for your reply Gaia - I have to say it is you who is missing the whole story.  - The Lateran treaty was not to repay the Vatican for the loss of the Papal States, it was a blunt instrument Mussolini used to buy Vatican support.  In  it, Italy recognised the Pope as a head of state.   The Vatican became an independent state within Mussolini's Italy.  And that remains today.  Therefore every time Papa steps out of his front door he becomes a visiting head of state in Italy and the Italians foot the bill.  You can see - if you ask repeatedly  - the costs from parliament of his jaunts.  Landing at Fiumicino, he has to get to the Vatican - via Air force helicopter, security, and so on.  When he leaves the Vatican we pay.  When he went to Palermo a couple of years ago the bill was 4 million euros - its not as if the Sicilians had a choice, his visit was 'announced' by the Vatican and under the rules as a visiting  head of state he gets the works, including 40 grands worth of flowers to cover the stage (200000 euros) erected for the papal mass - and so on.  ANd that happens every time he goes on walkabout.   Berlusconi even reinforced the Lateran treaty a few years ago in a pathetic attempt to buoy his support.  So it is a bit ingenuous to believe what the Vatican preaches on this, they are after all, past masters at misinformation.    The church does have alot of buildings- that belong to the church, not to Italians, but it is the Italians who have to maintain them.  The Church at the last count has not given one cent to the reconstruction of the churches in Aquila for example.   Where I live 4 million was spent by the ITalians restoring a church that remains shut because the parish priest will not allow it to be used by other groups, and wont even permit a charity fashion show on it steps because he disagrees with it.  That, unfortuately is the perverse power teh Church has. The tourists who spend and go to Rome are art lovers - they pay handsomely to visit the Vatican museum where the state recieves nothing, not even the IVA on the ticket price.   Religious tourists stay in religious hotels which pay no IVA and no IMU even though they are 'strutture ricettive' to all effects and purposes, thereby creating unfair competition and a void in the recipts of 117000000 a year only in avoided IVA.  (an estimated 800.0000000 in IMU)   The Church has a wealth of billions - and a fair bit of it is liquid - although the IOR, banks and secretive systems of the Vatican will never let us know how much.   It is reluctant to spend any of this money,  hoarding it for some unknown future spending - even the Caritas, as you say, is lamenting that it has no centralised funding source and is being bled dry.   Personally, if Grillo campaigned for the immediate cessation of the Lateran Treaty, and the reincorpration of the Vatican he would get my vote. 

Sorry Ram, we are not going to agree on this point. Although the Lateran Treaty was originally signed by Mussolini, it has been confirme by all other democratic governments after him, who did not need Vatican support, and incorporatrd into the Italian Constitution in 1947, after Mussolini's death.  The Italian government does not pay for the maintenance of the churches. I do not know what the Sicilians do or say, but it is not true. Your example of paying for the right to enter the Vatican Museum and the Vatican not paying tax to Italy is wrong, as the Museum is Vatican soil and therefore exempt from taxes. I was telling you about churches, which are masterpieces, open to the public at no charge and you have not been able to contradict me. Museums, throughout the world, do charge an entry fee. And not all religious tourists stay in convents. I have never stayed in one and I know many others who also go to hotels and apartments. The payment that convents get through tourists is what keeps them alive and maintains the buildings. Otherwise, there will be plenty of mre ruins throughout Italy. 

Gaia, we shall have to agree to disagree! but the Lateran treay has been reconfirmed precisely to keep the Vatican onside - afterall the DC parties were merely a mouthpiece for the Vatican for 50 years.   To say that an Italian govt does not need Vatican support is wholly bizarre!  It is only in the last 10 years that teh vatican in its non-political role (dont get me started on this) - has not specifically told its congregation how to vote.  I can provide a list as long as your arm of churches that charge for entrance and of museums that are free.   Its true the Italian govt does not pay for regular maintenance of churches, but it does pay for restoration under the Belli Arte and other funding mechanisms.   The facts are there if you seek them out - its just that govt and the Vatican would prefer we didnt know just how symbiotic is their relationship. 

Thank you, Fillide. Although I always try to be "diplomatic", on this instance I am feeling so furious that I am forgetting my manners. And I totally agree with Steinbruek. On the other hand, he should not have said it and Napolitano'did what he had to do. In any case, this gaffe is nothing compared to what Grillo an Berluscony continuously say and do. By the way, I read that some Grillo voters are starting to have second thoughts and have expressed that in Grillo's blog... That's interesting...

Flip, regarding your post of yesterday, 1:22 pm, in my opinion, Grillo's movement is more "populist" than the rest. Berlusconi is also a "populist", although some areas of his party and alliances are more "traditional". The PD and Monti are not in that "league".

Well it all depends on your Political outlook Gala, but if you talk to people here in Italy, and disregard what the populist media are saying then your perspective might change. To say Berlusconi is anything else but a manipulative, corrupt, odious shitweasel, is incorrect  and his party are about as 'traditional' as rickets.

I never said anthing flattering regarding Berlusconi, Flip. Quite the contrary. I only said that some people within the centre right may be more "traditional" conservatives. I thought and expected that these people would prefer to vote for Monti... but this did not happen. I think now that many of those who voted for Berlusconi were only thinking with their pockets and not their brains. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand the support he got.

  "If anyone has any doubts, simply google "Berlusconi embarrassing moments" and you will see quite a "collection".". Just to point out that among serious interests, Google is not seen as a prime source of information or knowledge. Search engines are a lazy way of acquiring a point of view without the need to waste time on research or positive thought. It's no wonder people are suckers for propaganda.  And for those who don't believe the US attack on the euro, perhaps you can explain the actions of the ECB in ignoring the ratings agencies?

SirTK, Google is only a tool to search for Berlusconi's embarrassing moments, which have been widely documented by the Italian and international press. And what about the Ruby scandal and all the "bunga-bunga"? If you like Berlusconi in spite of his conduct, it is your privilege. Obviously, there is a percentage of Italian voters who prefer to close their eyes. But to say that Berlusconi's "gaffes" and moral inadequacy are just "propaganda" is to be blindfolded. But, if you like it... 

Ram, we shall agree to disagree on this particular subject. You have your position and I have mine. Perhaps you need to go more frequently to Italian churches (not museums) to see for yourself. As for Belli Arti funding this is also available to individuals and lay associations, it is not restricted to the Church. I can tell you that some EU funds have also been made available for this kind of projects. Politics and religion are touchy subjects. I took a risk in this case, because I saw that nobody was eager to do it and I thought that it was weird for an Italian forum not to discuss the most important and relevant topic at this moment. I value your opinions and, although we may not coincide in our views, at least on religion and Vatican matters, I would prefer not to continue this discussion here as we are hijacking the thread. We may have a healthy argument at a later stage... perhaps following the new Pope's election?

I agree with Sebastiano. The politicians failed to realize that the electorate wanted new alternatives. The PD tried to perpetuate the old guard by choosing Bersani over Renzi. This election is a big joke and perhaps may seal the end of the Second Republic. After this... the deluge. Perhaps Monti should have been given more time to do some reforms. At least, it would have given a chance to better reflect on what is good for Italy... 

This has been posted by Robert not Angie -              Grillo says he wants to abolish all trade unions in Italy. Not reform them or curb them but abolish them. Does anyone else find this as alarming as I do ?  Whether you love unions or hate them I suspect there are few people reading this who would want to deny people the right to join one if they wanted to. This is a fundamental right in any free country. This is a very extreme and authoritarian measure and if Italy does abolish them it will be in the same camp as some of the most unsavoury regimes in the world.             Tolerance of unions is often seen as a litmus test of a country’s commitment to freedom, human rights and so on. If  Italy did this then it would be excluded from all sorts of  international agreements and organisations, including I imagine the EU. Italy would be marginalised and lose prestige and influence in the wider world. It would cause alarm bells to ring in many countries who are Italy’s friends, allies and partners. Comparisons would inevitably be made to Italy’s history in the earlier part of this century.               Is all this Grillo’s intention, if so he should say so. Or has he not thought it through, in which case you might want to call into question his judgement .

Frankly Im getting a bit p(%ssed off with Grillo - it's fine having a rant and beingin opposition, but he's being a prat now.  If he is leader then be leader, dont say 'Im not a leader' and then not allow anyone else to lead.   He's come out with such a huge variety of nonsense that abolishing unions is hardly unexpected.  Of course he cant - he cant do 90% of his programme without tearing up the constitution and starting again.   I find it deeeply undemocratic that his party which took 28% of the vote wants absolute power.  It should get 28% of the vote, which would give it no power at all in the Italy we have.  It may be thelargest single party but Italy doesnt and has never worked on anything but coalitions and they are sanctioned by the constitution.   Grillo will have to march on Rome and start over if he wants to do a tenth of what he says, and even those who voted for him regard the constitution as sacrosanct.  It was inevitable that teh first two laws promulgated by the M5S MP's on Monday were a referendum on the euro and legalisation of cannabis.  Its all going to go very pearlike.