Italy has a new electoral system. As of yesterday. It replaces the’porcellum’ which inturn replaced the ‘materellum’ and is yet another attempt to find a democratic way to run a supposedly democratic country.
The Italicum is tthe brainchild of Renzi, and has heaped odium on his Mr Bean like head by all and sundry, including a goodly section of his own party. Now we just have to wait and see if it is deemed unconstitutional by the high court as the last reform was.
For those who dont slavishly follow the ins and outs, shake it all about twisty turns of Italian law the new law prescribes a winning margin. If you get 40% of the vote in a general election you get other free seats, guaranteeing an overrall majority. In a country where there are myriad tiny parties it means a party can win, and govern without being in thrall to smaller parties who usually cross the floor as soon as they dont get what they want – which in a good year can mean 3 general elections.
Apparently this isnt democratic. Nor is the idea of smaller lists and the parachuting in of candidates by head office who arent elected by the plebs. What the dissidents in Renzis own party wantonly fail to grasp, is that Italy is and has been decidedly undemocratic and ungovernable for the last 150 years, and despite its faults, Renzis baby is a last ditch attempt to provide for an elected government to govern. Berlusconi complained that it took 650 daay to get a law passed – an expensive business seeing that parliament costs the tax payer 220.000 euros a day to keep open. Now, a list cannot get elected to parliament unless it has 3% of the national vote, which is much like losing your deposit in a British electoral system. What it will do is deny the smaller parties and the vile career politicians the possibility of literally earning millions by selling their support to larger parties – and this is most likely the cause of such upset. While Forza Italia has compained vocfierously, it didnt vote against the bill, just went out for a coffee while the vote was being taken. Berlo has kept significatnly quiet on all this – it is after all what he has been angling for for years, and should be slightly worrying for us all. Silvio is quietly selling off some stock, Milan football team, parts of his Mediaset empire, 20% of his bank and so on which will garner him about 4 billion euros. Enough surely to buy off the electorate in a future election and guarantee him an overrall majority to pass whatever law he likes in his dotage. Except that noone yet has said this, hoping perhaps that Renzi can cling on and keep his rating in the polls high enough to resist the unthinkable.