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11/16/2011 - 14:24

The new Italian government has been announced and it is obvious that we will have a fight between technocrats and politicians. All the positions have been covered by highly qualified technocrats; however, will they be able to govern without the backing of the political forces. Will they face a hostile Parliament which will jeopardize the fulfilment of their task? Taking into account the current crisis, perhaps it is a good idea to keep politicians away from government... but.... is this possible or viable? Monti and his colleagues have a huge task ahead. I wish them luck, because they are going to need it.



If the politicians are clever (and THAT is a contradiction in terms) they will let this technocrat government make all those tough decisions that would lose them votes in an election. They can wash their hands of these unpopular decisions at a later date but, in the meantime, Italy could make its much-needed reforms and recover its economy and reputation.

I tend to agree with Raggio, at present and as long as we are submerged in this crisis, it is easier and safer for the politicians to leave it up to the technocrats to fix... or to fail in the process. This morning, I was listening to a reputable Spanish political commentator talking on this topic. You may know that there are general elections in Spain on the 20th of November and he was comparing the Italian-Spain situation and wondering whether a technocrat government would be a better solution. After all, and just as he said, there is not such a thing as real "democracy" in action when an elected political party appoints members of the cabinet. They appoint fellow members of the party to repay political favours but, in many cases, they do not follow the basic rule of choosing the right person, with the righ knowledge and qualifications for the job. And the general public, even fellow members of their own party, have nothing to say about those choices. This is not "democratic" at all and this is why a government made out of highly qualified technocrats may not be a bad idea. In any case, time will tell and I wish them luck, because Italy needs it. Bella Caroline, cheer up, it may not be doom and gloom for everyone. Keep your fingers crossed! 

The problem is gala, it's not a case of it may never happen, it is already happening. Italy is in a lot of trouble.The new government hasn't calmed any nerves and I'm afraid to say that after listening to his speech today there is nothing fundamentally different from what Berlusconi has been proposing.It the native Italians that are going to, and are , feel the pinch straight away but soon the cuts and the financial problems will be felt by the ex pats in terms of tax rises and cuts in public services. Also Italy is affecting the rest of Europe as well.The government aren't trying to avoid a crisis, they are playing catch up and trying to stop the full blown crisis getting worse and avoid bankruptcy.

There is a fair bit of difference between what Monti said and what Berlo has been banging on about for the last god knows how long, but above all Berlo has not DONE anything.   And then to cap it all he comes out today threatening and talking rubbish saying that the imperatives are judicial processes and phone interception.  So nothing new there then - still the same old Berlo saving his own saggy old skin and leaving the country to fnd for itself.  At least Monti and his banking friends, have a plan which they will try to put into action, which is more than the PDL has done for the last 3 years.  Berlo opens his mouth adn the markets collapse - is there no super injunction in italy to make him shut up?

Ram, I think that the markets are gambling with sovereign debt as if they were in a big casino. They have nothing else to bet on at the moment and they are buying and selling to make small margins that will keep them going. Perhaps, if the EU would place restrictions on these type of operations... say that they cannot sell within the first 30 days, that could make a change. As for Mr B... I don't think that many would believe a word of what he says. And Bella, I agree that the greatest danger is how these situations can become contagious and affect everyone.

Seems to me the problem will be that whatever the technocrat governors are doing, there will be a general jockeying for position by the politicians in the hope of taking over when the major problems are deemed to be solved. I can't see this latter helping in any way whatsoever, but that won't stop them. And with no clear favourites in sight, I fear it'll be a bit of a shambles, so in terms of restoring the world's confidence in Italy, will tend to undo any progress the technocrats are able to make. Better in my view would be to hold elections soon and clear up any doubts about succession, then let the technocrats get on with their interim task. T

I am sorry, but I think that anyone who can win an election will be eager to govern immediately, so the technocrats will have no chance to implement measures that would only be possible through an interim government in which politicians will not be directly involved. Another problem, in the case of Italy at least, is that there does not seem to be a clear leader who could win an election. Berlusconi had a very ineffective opposition and this helped to keep him in power. I fail to see too many options in this case and I also do not know enough about Greece's situation to ascertain whether it is right or wrong for them to have a technocrats government. In the case of Spain, we are having elections on Sunday and it is almost certain that the opposition will win. But again, I am not certain whether this would prove beneficial for the country or whether a group of well chosen technocrats would do a better job. And I must say that I am not the only one with similar thoughts. Today, one important radio held a competition to nominate technocrats to form an interim government in Spain, following on Greece's and Italy's steps. Perhaps, it is not a bad idea after all. In any case, it is not going to be easy for anyone. I only wish that someone in power could put a halt to the markets' voracious speculation.

Frankly it doesnt matter what anyone does or doesnt do, because Italy is now toast, closely followed by the rest of Europe.  Italy and the ITalians do not have a spiral of democratic dna in their bodies - its unfortunate but there it is - it is the least democratic democracy in the west - and under the Italian skin is always the hope that someone will come along with absolute power and tell everyone what to do, as long as it what they want to hear.  Italy/democracy/politicians = stagnation and feathering of many nests.  Being commissioned by the EU is about the only way forward, or Alessandra Mussolini leads a march on Rome...  Gaia, I appreciate you objective optimisim but 'anyone who wins an election will be eager to govern immediately'???  - This is Italy! - anyone who wins an election wants to do flop all for the next 5 years - get their pension and a few other directorships, and keep doing their original job without ever going into parliament.  Italy needs a complete overhaul of the parliamentary system before we get to vote.  

Which is why I advocate elections immediately. Then the politicians can do all their posing and posturing in the background to try to win hearts, whilst the technocrats get on with sorting out the problems.  Without knowing what is to follow any interim measure, the world will fear the worst - for example, they might imagine that Prodi will come back again, for heaven's sake - hence long-term confidence will never be restored. How to keep them in the background is the problem, which implies only that the technocrats need to be imbued with sufficient power in order to do their job unopposed. TK

Well Ram, I may be the eternal optimist. I even believe in miracles!!!! Anyway, I also think that the political scene in Italy is a mess and I also agree that the Italians would love to see a Messiah coming to the rescue. Alessandra Mussolini may not have enough strength. The Monarchy would have been an option if Vittorio Emanuele and his son were more suitable. They aren't. Amedeo of Savoy (,_Duke_of_Aosta_(b._1943) seems to be a better choice, but there could be too many problems in the process and also I do not think that he would be prepared to grab the crown under the circumstances. In any case, the Monarchy would have needed an interim government of technocrats until the system could be reorganised and they could have a proper election. I may be old fashioned, but I like monarchies as they generally provide some kind of stability during difficult times. In any case, I still think that the technocrats may be the easiest solution, at least for the moment. And SirTK, I do not think that the Italians are prepared for an immediate election. As you say, the technocrats are going to need all the help and support they can get.

My parents would have a fit! They were both vote-counters after the War in 1946 when the people were asked to decide what the Italian state should be and my mum still remembers the joyous scenes when Umberto II  decided to leave Italy. It is also true that my parents' generation (they are well into their 90s) is getting smaller every year and, before long, there will be no-one around to recall the bad old days of the Italian Monarchy and, according to mum, they were VERY bad especially since it was they who supported Mussolini and opened the door to a disastrous war and a Black Era of which no Italian is proud.

Raggio - I'm not Italian and not (yet) in my 90s but I agree with your Mum!!! Sounds like you should record your parents reminiscences in order to remind future generations who will be blinded by the bling of sleb culture and let in some mincing aristo just because he's appeared in the vacuous media controlled by an ex-premier with allegedly strong links to organised crime.......

Alessandra Mussolini more for her surname than her charisma and political skill!  I dont think the Italians would ever have a monarchy again, certainly after the last lot - and anyway it could only ever be a constitutional monarchy.   A constitutional dictator though - I can see that quite easily, Berlusconi has certainly tried, and even now looks a bit like Mussolini! . As for democracy - Berlusconi is bleating that a technical government is not democratic - but it seems to have support of 75% of the Italians which is more than he has ever had!  I understand calls for immediate elections, but constitutionally the earliest an election could be would be February, which would mean total uncertainty for 3 months, an entire collapse of faith in Italy, ridiculous expenditure on elections which the country can ill afford, and a hung parliament at the end of it all (again) which could achieve nothing concrete.   For all their faults I think the technocrats are the only way forward, and would even do away with parliamentary approval for their austerity measures.  But - I would set a date for the elections now, immovable - to stop the endless jockeying for position that we will witness over the next few uncertain months. 

Sorry Raggio, but the results of the 1946 Italian Referendum on the form of government were not overwhelmingly in favour of the Republic. The results were as follows: Republic: 12,718,641 votes or 54.3% Monarchy: 10,718,502 or 45.7% So not a big difference as it was less than 10% of the votes. I have to agree with your mother in the fact that Umberto II was not a clever king and the monarchy, mainly his father, Vittorio Emanuele III had leaned too much on Mussolini side. Even his wife, Queen Marie Josée (a Belgian princess) desperately tried to put distance between the monarchy and the dictator. Here are some interesting details for those who like history: Anyway, even if the monarchists had won the referendum, the Italian monarchy would have become a constitutional one, just as it is the case with most modern monarchies. Concerning the support for Mussolini, I am afraid that he was supported by many Italians at the time, not only some members of the Monarchy... As for the old aristocracy, the majority despised Mussolini. But, at this stage, Italy has more serious problems to contend with and I agree with Ram in that the technocrats seem to be the only solution available. I also agree with Ram in that Berlusconi looks increasingly like Mussolini...

For an alternative viewpoint I have been finding Beppe Grillo's blog - available in English here - interesting and educational. I wonder if the US or Uk populus would accept a totally non elected government? It may be the best thing for Italy right now but I am finding it hard to get my head around. Not as hard as I found it to understand why any woman would have voted for Berlusconi  though, all those showgirls in positions of power - multo bizarro to me. What happens to them?  If anyone can recommend any good sources of info about the Italian system thats written in English I would be very grateful, I live here full time now and want to understand the hows and whys better than I do but my Italian is not good enough yet to get to grips with the analysis in the papers. This article is scary but very interesting - is it really Goldman Sachs running the whole show now - the Indie seems to think so Am

Amaretto, the decision to appoint an interim government headed by Monti is within the powers of the Italian President in a crisis situation, such as the current one. To call an election takes time and urgent measures were needed. Greece had to go through a similar experience. Spain had an election already planned and yesterday, the opposition leader won an overwhelming victory. You mention the readiness of UK and USA people to accept such measures. Well, I can remember back in the 70¨s when the Governor General of Australia, representing the Queen, removed the Whitlam government (Labour) during a crisis in which supply was blocked by the opposition. The leader of the opposition, the Conservative Fraser, was appointed to head an interim government which was later on ratified through a proper election, but this took a few months. So this type of "interventions" take place everywhere in the world and whenever desperate measures are needed. They are not ideal, but sometimes there is no other way out. This may also interest you and clarify some points: Regarding women voting for Berlusconi.... it also beats me. And this does not mean that Italian women are either idiots or "bimbos". On the contrary, there are many Italian women who are highly prepared and could be excellent politicians. Perhaps, they are sick and tired of the almost permanent "circus"....

Penny I think Max is always worth a listen though I do find his voice puts me off, can't bear it. I didn't know that about the Whitlam Gov ( before my time) but at least it was ratified by elections soon after. I make no judgement about whether this is the best thing  for Italy - it may well be, it just surprises me that votes only count to a point and goalposts seem to move when its deemed a crisis. Will certainly check out your links, thanks. Am