The frenzy noises of the champagne bottles uncorked by the alleged winners of 2018 Italian elections are already a distant memory.
The 5 Star movement is the largest single political party (32%) while the center-right the largest coalition (37%). Incidentally the League’s leader, Matteo Salvini, obtained more votes than Berlusconi’s party. Both are, however, short of the 40% required to form a government.
There is no winner. There is one big loser: the Democrats that have been leading the government for the last 5 years (below 20%).
Almost 33 million Italians (73%) went to the ballots, the country is split in two: a Center-Right North opposed to a 5-Star-Movement South.
There are two kingmakers at this stage: the President of the Italian Republic and the newly elected MPs’ fear for new elections.
Following the hearings with the representatives of the political parties, the President will appoint a leader – the President of the Council of the Ministers (PM)– tasked to find an upper and lower house majority. If successful, the PM will, then, propose a list of Ministers for President’s approval. The President of the Republic might well refuse some candidatures. The last step is the formal vote of confidence by the parliament.
Speculations abound on which leader will be tasked to find a majority. There is no specific provision. All will depend upon the hearings. The natural candidates are, theoretically, either the leader of the 5-Star-Movement, 31 year old Luigi Di Maio, or the leader of the League, 44 year old Matteo Salvini. Before new elections are called, the President of the Republic is obliged to find a majority within the newly appointed Parliament. Options might include personalities external to the political arena.
The President will take his time, which, in turn, will tame the emotions that still run high. MPs will realize, after chest pounding on the purity of the respective ideals and the promises of “no compromise” with the enemy/opponent, that, in fact, politics remain the art of the compromise.
Many new MPs, in particular those elected in the 5 Star Movement ranks, have never filed a tax return (having had no job and income). Each will receive a paycheck of approximately US$ 15,000 per month plus other allowances. “It’s the economy, stupid!” not so much a paraphrase.
The markets are doing fine being anxious for President Trump’s tariff strategy. No dooms day for Italy. Milan Ftse Mib, gained 1.22% at the end of March 7, closing slightly short of 22,500 points.
MPs will become more Machiavellian than they had anticipated. All convene, in private conversations, that it has been, so far, a Pyrrhic Victory.