Politics

Italy, strong Government or weak Government ?

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Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has just appointed Mr Enrico Letta, acting secretary of the Democratic Party, as prime minister.

Which kind of Government will he preside over ?

Berlusconi wants a strong and lasting Government: to protect himself from his judicial troubles, to implement popular policies and try to beat his likely competitor Matteo Renzi, and to compromise the Democratic Party whose electors are reluctant to accept a bipartisan Government.

For opposite reasons, the Democratic Party wants a transitional and weaker Government. Mr Renzi, who is likely to become the next secretary of the Party, doesn’t want elections to be delayed too much.

Who won ? It is difficult to tell. Mr Letta is the acting secretary of the Democratic Party, so Mr Berlusconi was effectively able to compromise his adversaries. But at the same time Mr Letta is not a very strong figure. Indeed he is for sure weaker than Mr Giuliano Amato, who was an alternative choice.

As prime minister, in 1992 Mr Amato ordered a 0,6 per cent ‘forced withdrawal’ from all the bank accounts by the State, in order to rebalance the public budget and allow Italy to be admitted into the Eurozone. His appointment would have probably been too much for a public opinion sick and tired of austerity, and would have raised too many fears after the controversial taxation of bank accounts in Cyprus.

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