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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beppe as king-maker: will he, won't he?

Beppe Grillo is the man of the moment in Italy and Europe. He, and not Mario Monti as thought, commands enough seats in the Italian Senate to hold the balance of power. So the former Comedian, not the former European Commissioner, could be the king-maker.  But does he want to?

There are plenty of rumours coming our of Italy that Pier Luigi Bersani - whose centre-left coalition holds a solid majority in the lower house of the Italian parliament - is trying to court Grillo somehow. But Grillo may well continue to resist any formal coalition arrangements with other parties - after all that was his entire thing in the run-up to the elections.

Yesterday, he insisted on La Cosa, the Five-Star Movement official TV / radio online station, that he is not going to make inciuci, inciucetti, or inciucini -  Italian slang to describe backroom deals - with anyone.  

But only an hour ago he told journalists outside his house in Genoa,
We talk about programmes. We're not against the world. We'll see reform by reform, law by law. If there are proposals that fit with our programme, we'll consider them. 
So this seems to suggest that Grillo could be willing to offer occasional, case-by-case support in parliament - provided that the proposals on the table are in line with the Five-Star Movement manifesto. That's a very similar to minority government arrangements elsewhere, where individual parties are relied on to push through certain measures.

But even if such a deal between Bersani and Grillo can be struck, it isn't exactly a recipe for (eurozone) stability - not least given some of Grillo's actual economic policies.

We will be over Grillo like a cheap suit, so keep reading our blog and follow us on Twitter @OpenEurope or @LondonerVince for all the latest updates from Italy.


Rick said...

Glad to have found your blog (via Twitter)--I'm bookmarking it so that I can keep up with the Grillo phenomenon in English. So much uncertainty right now...

Rik said...


1.He can hardly give complete support to a government that will continue mainly 'as is'. Makes him look as uncredible as the other parties. And kill him in a next election.
Especially dangerous with new election in sight. Plus he is no where near ready to govern (and so very likley will mess things up when he does).

2. He most likely has momentum (in case of a new election) on his side. Seen the present trend (extrapolate) he might even come out with a majority in their Lowerhouse (because of the somewhat strange electoral system).
Also from that angle no need to rush into compromise.
Downside: this was a protestvote with a unexpectedly high outcome. Some present voters may back off again if they consider the consequences of a comedian being the largest party in parliament.

Anyway from there the by far best strategy looks:
-on supporting a new governemt in total. Simply make a lot of and clear and short term (because of the likely new elections) demands and stick to them (and likley the things Italians in general think are long overdue). Walk away if not granted. Makes it possible to point the finger at the others if necessary.

-on specific issues. Probably best to focus on issues already in the programm now and simply demand political change for it if any compromise is required. The more the Italians think things are overdue the more stick to these changes. Message: 'real change according our programm or forget it'.

Which will make supporting a new government totally unlikely. And on seperate issues and via them you can establish yourself and be ready when a new election comes.

This guy might be a comedian by profession but he (as is Berlusconi) is certainly not an idiot. Or at least not a bigger idiot than the main stream politicians. Most of the present main stream policies are also completely idiotic and unlikely to work, and just telling via the media they are not hardly make them sensible. Traditional politics not only in Italy were/are good at promissing things but utterly poor on delivering on them. They have been found out for a lot of people. It is a pure negative choice people are making. The proven rubbish and broken promises of the traditional politics or the uncertainty of the new (rather wild ones).
Seen the weirdos people vote for all over Europe and in large quantities, it is pretty clear what their 'verdict' is on main stream traditional politics.

Probably best for Italy would have been to let Monti bring in the changes that stabilise things and make it possible to reneg with a gun on the table if necessary from there. Telling the other guy he will lose his money is not very convincing if at the same time you yourself will not have food to eat.
Unlikely to happen so it seems now.