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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beppe Grillo demands Five-Star Movement government and euro referendum

Remember Italy?

Looking unusually smart in his dark suit, Beppe Grillo, along with some of his Five-Star Movement colleagues, this morning opened the second day of talks with President Giorgio Napolitano on forming the new Italian government.

After the meeting, Grillo's parliamentary whips Vito Crimi and Roberta Lombardi (see picture) read a short declaration to the press. The following three points stood out:
  • The Five-Star Movement's 20-point plan for government would include a referendum on Italy's membership of the euro. This now seems to have become official party policy; 
  • The Five-Star Movement wants "a full mandate" to form a government of its own choosing;
  • If the Five-Star Movement fails to obtain the mandate, it will request the chairmanship of two key parliamentary committees: COPASIR, which is in charge of supervising Italy's intelligence services; and the committee in charge of supervising Italy's public broadcaster RAI.
On his blog, Grillo has just ruled out supporting "political or pseudo-technocratic governments". This sounds very much like a definitive 'no' to any solution other than a cabinet led by the Five-Star Movement itself, and essentially leaves two options open:
  • A national unity government backed by Silvio Berlusconi, centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani and possibly Mario Monti. Such a government could be led by either Bersani himself or someone from outside of politics. Incumbent Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri and newly-elected Senate speaker Pietro Grasso (a former anti-mafia prosecutor) are the names doing the rounds in the Italian media at the moment;
Bersani is due to meet President Napolitano this evening at 5pm (GMT). The prevailing view in the Italian media is that the President may announce the name of the (first) person tasked with forming the new government by tomorrow evening, or Saturday morning at the latest.

We'll keep you posted with real-time Twitter updates from Italy. Follow us @OpenEurope or @LondonerVince.     

3 comments:

Rik said...

Probably the best strategy for him.
-Is at 30% in the polls, which simply means the trend is with him, so a new election will not hurt him, but likley make him stronger.
-No need to compromise (only on your terms or not).
-Forces the other ones to work together and make them look even more similar. The Socialist will likley have to break his word to work with Berlusconi.

With the Italian system with 30% he is close to being the largest party/coalition. Which means 55% of the seats in their Lowerhouse.
So he can block everything and demand for cooperation on the things he and apparently his voters find important, like the referendum. Only way to clean up the mess (well have a chance thereon) as well.

Donot see anything in his European club plans. Too much garbage around there and completely unorganised usually (will almost certain end in a mess). Very mixed company. The reasons for populist are rather different from country to country.
UKIP is mainly anti-EU and not pro-immigration.
Wilders is anti-Islam, anti-EU, anti 3rd world immigration and anti-austerity.
LePen is carrying her history with her.
Very few similar parties, Pirates but in Germany they are a complete mess and will remain marginal.
Lot to lose little to gain.

Denis Cooper said...

I am pretty sure that if there was a referendum then it would be announced that the Italians had voted to stay in the euro.

It is one thing to have a nation voting not to join the euro, as the Danes and the Swedes did - that is annoying, but the possibility remains that eventually they will see the error of their ways and be persuaded to fall into line.

It would be a very different thing to have a nation which has joined the euro voting to leave it - that would have to be prevented by all available means, including rigging the ballot.

But short of resorting to outright fraud in the vote it would be easy to persuade the Italians that it would bring catastrophe on their heads if they voted to leave the euro.

For a start, they would be stepping outside the scope of the EU treaties, which deliberately provide no mechanism for a member state to ever leave the euro once it has joined, and therefore the treaties would provide the Italians with not a shred of legal protection from whatever reprisals the other member states, led by Germany, chose to inflict.

Of course a benign and unambititious Germany could say that even though the EU treaties said nothing at all about a country leaving the euro it would nonetheless agree to the withdrawal of Italy being facilitated, if that was what the Italians wanted, and then the treaties could be changed to retroactively legitimise whatever measures had been taken to ensure an orderly withdrawal with minimum financial and economic damage.

But in the real world it would be hammered home to the Italians that Italy leaving the euro would inevitably mean Italy leaving the EU altogether, and that there was no intention to change the treaties to make it legally possible for Italy to leave the euro but remain in the EU.

The Dutch Prime Minister Rutte has suggested that the treaties should be changed in that way, but nobody of any importance has come forward to support him on that, not even Cameron.

IDRIS said...

It's only a matte of when, not whether. For as long as Italy stays in the euro it will be crucufied, and sooner or later the pain will be too great to overcome the fear of leaving.