Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Italy Finally Has a Chance to Recover – Berlusconi May Not Run for Prime Minister

But Mario Monti May Not Run for Prime Minister

Italy is a wonderful country with wonderful people and an awful government when Silvio Berlusconi was Prime Minister.  And things got so bad that Italy decided to appoint a professional economist and non-politician, Mario Monti to the position of Prime Minister.  (He was also appointed Senator for Life, what’s that all about?)

Mr. Monti has restored credibility and integrity to Italy’s government and while he has pursued the austerity that is currently in vogue with the Europeans, he has also tried to inject reason and stimulus into the conversation.  He is also somewhat of a free market advocate, a much needed characteristic in southern Europe climate of excessive government.

Source:  The Economist Oct. 13-19

New elections are coming up next year and the great fear was that Mr. Berlusconi would try and capture his old position.

In June the former prime minister and founder of the conservative People of Freedom (PdL) movement hinted heavily that he would return as his party’s candidate in the general election next spring. 

It’s hard to imagine a greater disaster for the Italians, as the center/right publican The Economist pointed out.

Since Mr Berlusconi’s years in government coincided with an almost total absence of economic growth and structural reform, investors were horrified. So were many Italians who had not enjoyed their government becoming something of a laughing stock abroad, thanks to Mr Berlusconi’s antics.

But for now at least Mr. Berlusconi is reconsidering, and may not run.  He and his party look pretty pathetic.

Antonio Piazza, a regional PdL leader, is accused of slashing the tyres of a disabled driver who had the effrontery to use a parking bay, reserved for the disabled, in which the PdL dignitary liked to leave his Jaguar. Another PdL apparatchik was arrested on October 10th, accused of buying votes from the Calabrian mafia—the most worrying evidence yet of its penetration of northern Italian politics. According to a poll commissioned by RAI, Italy’s state broadcaster, Mr Berlusconi would lose to Mr Alfano if a primary election were held among right-wing voters.

So with any luck Mr. Monti will be persuaded to run for a new term.  And Italy will be spared Mr. Berlusconi and his party of nincompoops.  Let’s hope so, Italy is too nice a country not to deserve at least a chance to survive the disastrous European policies.

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