Italy is headless. After the most recent election in late February, it has become a nation divided against itself—as put by some of my professors, it is in a state of ingovernabilità.
(Please note that this post is based on my own opinions, observations and what I’ve learned from Italian faculty.)
The last election came to a three-way tie between the conservative center Popolo della Libertà (Pdl), compromising center-left Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S), and liberal left Partito Democratico (Pd). Pdl ideology may be considered “right” in the United States, except in Italy, the “right” is Fascist. No party has a clear advantage and instead of siding with one or the other, the neutral M5S has refused to side itself with another party to gain the majority of power. They have stated that they will only side on issues but not with entire parties.
The notorious Silvio Berlusconi (the very man Italy revolted against and tore from power two years ago) has risen from the ashes upon empty promises and new ideology. Forgotten are his vices of underage prostitutes, mafia associations, and money laundering—even leading Italy to the brink of bankruptcy. Instead, he has gained his center-aligned party Pdl the support of a third of the populace—mostly fellow members of the borghesia and lower-class workers blinded by promises of lower taxes.
Partito Democratico is the liberal and progressive party headed by Pier Luigi Bersani. However, the party has grown roots over the years and has become nearly as corrupt and unreliable as Pdl.
The younger, traditionally “rebelling” generation has taken a new path and ideology, sitting a little to the left of center—not radicalism but rather compromise. A new party steadily gaining support is Movimento 5 Stelle founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, filled with students and older Italians exhausted by vicious politics sustained by the other sides.
This political stalemate has left Italy paralyzed—without a majority party the Italian government cannot make any major reforms—reforms the country needs in a state of economic crisis. The issue may only be solved by 1. a grand coalition between two parties; 2. Institution of a minority government; or 3. new elections (although hopefully with a modified system).
The citizens are frustrated with this paralysis as the politicians fight their ideological war—a war that can leave Italy crippled or else revolutionize their young republican form of government. The nation is balanced on the edge and the longer the people are kept in wait, the more likely it is to fall.