Italy, a crisis of democracy

I strongly recommend this video interview on Al Jazeera with Emma Bonino, vice-president of the Italian senate. One of the most authoritative Italian politicians and activists, with a strong track record of radical reformist political activity in Italy and abroad, talks about Italy and the current crisis. While I don’t agree with her firm support for Monti’s technocratic government, I definitely share her views on the underlying causes of the disastrous state of affairs in Italy. She is right when she says that the Italian party system is the primary cause of the current crisis, and the main obstacle to its resolution.

Italian parties are not really accountable to their constituencies. They are let free by inadequate legal requirements to do as they wish with excessive amounts of public funds, which they use to establish political consensus through continuous financing of clienteles. They are also supported by an electoral law that gives them the power to decide through blocked lists who is elected to parliament, with no voice from citizens to choose their own candidates.

As Emma Bonino says, Italian parties have no real intention to change. This is why so-called “anti-politics” protest movements, like the 5 Star Movement led by comedian and activist Beppe Grillo, are shooting up in the polls, and the number of people who do not intend to vote at the next general elections increases by the day. The Italian crisis is first of all a crisis of democracy.


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