Politics

The nightmare of political negotiations in Italy

If you read the Italian Constitution, you will found some very Communist clauses (“Italy is a Democratic Republic funded on labor”) and other which are very Catholic (“The Republic recognizes the rights of the family as a natural association funded on marriage”).

Why? Because the Constitution was the result of negotiations between the Communist Party and the Christian Democratic party.

This evening, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi took part to yet another round of negotiations with Mr Silvio Berlusconi. Mr Renzi needs Mr Berlusconi, because he only narrowly controls the Senate and the constitutional and electoral reforms which are the object of the negotiations should be bipartisan anyhow.

But Mr Berlusconi would like clauses killing the smaller parties, some of which are made of his former associates whom he considers traitors, and Mr Renzi can’t allow this because his Government would be torpedoed by the small New Right party.

Mr Berlusconi would also like to retain the power of handpicking the candidates, but the leftist wing of Mr Renzi’s Democratic Party doesn’t accept this. The same wing would like Mr Renzi to negotiate with Mr Grillo rather than Mr Berlusconi, but this could anger the Cavaliere, and anyhow it is unclear whether Mr Grillo’s Five Stars Movement is willing to negotiate or not.

Looks complicated? Well, there is also a parallel, intertwined negotiation about the election of the new President, since Mr Giorgio Napolitano is going to step down.

Life is hard for an Italian Prime Minister. Even dictator Benito Mussilini (who officially was the King’s Prime Minister) complained of being “the less obeyed man in the whole century”.

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