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19.3.2018

Lorenzo Marsili on the parliamentary elections in Italy

Lorenzo Marsili is transnationally active as a writer and commentator. He is also the founder of European Alternatives, a transnational citizen’s movement. NECE asked Lorenzo Marsili in what way the results of the parliamentary elections in Italy fit in Europe’s current political landscape.

Lorenzo Marsili (© privat)

The Italian elections have brought further proof that Europe's political landscape remains in turmoil. This should come as no surprise: established parties are proving dramatically unable to address the grave challenges of our time and unwilling to reform an economic system that is expelling a growing percentage of our citizens from decent life. Following a familiar trend, parties perceived to be advocating for continuity have been electorally punished.

Both the traditional centre-left Democratic Party and the traditional centre-right of Silvio Berlusconi have plummeted in the vote, counting for under 33% between them. The real victors are two allegedly "anti-establishment" parties, the Five Star Movement (32%) and the League (17%). But while the latter is part and parcel of the general European trend towards nationalism and xenophobia, and is a close ally of Marine Le Pen's FN, the Five Star represents a uniquely Italian approach to "centrist" populism. In the run-up to the elections they have proposed moderate candidates for ministerial posts and have dramatically toned down their anti-euro rhetoric. The result is a hung Parliament.

What government may emerge is anybody's guess: expect long coalition talks and possible early elections. But, more importantly, the Italian elections bring a further reminder that "things fall apart, and the centre no longer holds". In a situation of great political transformation, with new parties emerging in a very short period of time (from Podemos to En Marche), it is paramount that citizens be informed about political alternatives and even consider taking a direct role in running for elections. Traditional parties, on the other, face a stark choice: accept the challenge of dramatically reforming Europe's institutions and economy, or whither away and watch the electoral revolt continue to grow.

More on Lorenzo Marsili: https://euroalter.com/personnel/lorenzo-marsili
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