Italian President Mattarella leaves the Constitution and prevents the formation of the 5Stelle-Lega Government
This opens an unprecedented crisis in post-WWII political history in Italy. A crisis that can be defined as “European”, because it says something unequivocal: that the majority of the Italian electorate deems it necessary to change the politics of Europe, to change Europe as it is. Stop. Nothing more, but also nothing less.
And the outcome – provisional, completely provisional – says that the Italian ruling class, the one that led the country to the current crisis, the public debt over € 2.300 billion, six million poor families, youth unemployment to 50 % in the south, the disaster of social services, wild privatization, stagnation, generalized precariousness, not only does not intend to leave, but relies on the blackmail of the “markets” and claims that it has the best of the popular vote.
Interpreter of this “strange idea” was the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who explicitly explained his thoughts. Violating article 1 of the Constitution, on which he swore, that sounds unequivocal: “Sovereignty belongs to the people”.
The “excuse” choice was the nomination of Paolo Savona as minister of Economy. The professor was “accused” by Mattarella to want the Euro exit. The accusation was totally unfounded, as he informed interested parties with a statement by the unequivocal words: “I just fight for a stronger and juster Europe”. It was not enough. Mattarella did not make any secret of his alarmist and alarmed thoughts: a government with this minister would still be a negative sign for Europe. And therefore, better prevent the formation of the government that run this risk.
He had perhaps foreseen that the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, and the leader of the 5 Stars, Luigi Di Maio, would have surrendered, taking away from Paolo Savona and falling back on a different solution. But, yesterday afternoon, the two leaders of the new majority – after unpublished, dramatic and unexpected meetings with the President – answered spades: “we cannot and we do not want to give up to requests that, obviously, come from outside the country. A majority exists, the premier in charge, Giuseppe Conte, has the list of ministers ready, the President does not have the powers to reject the “government of change”.
And Mattarella has crossed the Rubicon deciding that the “markets” count more than people. And he did it with a further challenge, announcing an immediate plan, exclusively his own, for a government of the President. A few hours after the announcement that today he would meet Sergio Cottarelli, perhaps to entrust him with an assignment. But the numbers say that even if Cottarelli (former minister for the spending review of Letta government) were to be presented to the Chambers, he would not receive a majority.
But this would allow Mattarella to keep him in charge, for current affairs and to approve, with decree (another serious irregularity) a new electoral law. These are just hypotheses, for the moment, but all are signs of a clash that opposes the outgoing political èlite to the popular vote on March 4th. And that is a prelude to a situation of generalized political confrontation.
The response of M5 Stars was immediately furious, as was that of Salvini for League: proposal to launch the procedure of Impeachment for the attack on the Constitution. Lega, in the moment we are writing, is not yet clearly pronounced. Salvini invited his own to calm. Evidently thinking that, in the event of early elections, its success will nevertheless be overflowing. But even the small right-wing coalition Fratelli d’Italia immediately announced that it would support the impeachment.
If these positions were consolidated, there would be the numbers for the impeachment in the two assembled chambers. And, for Mattarella, the situation would become incandescent. There were only two precedents of this kind: the first against the then President Leone, the other against Francesco Cossiga. In both cases the impeachment did not take place because both of them resigned before the vote. But in this case it will not be so easy to evade by the responsibility.
In any case, it will not be a short story. Much has yet to happen: what government, what duration, with what tasks. Furthermore: what will be the reactions of so-called “markets”, of Germany, of France, of the European Central Bank. Finally when and if there will be new elections.
On the President’s side there is majority of great mass media, which justify and defend him. There is Democratic Party of Matteo Renzi. And there is Berlusconi too. Which means that the right alliance is definitely over. Berlusconi extends his hand to the Democratic Party, to save himself. It is clear that, in case of election, both are even more at risk than they have shown their double electoral disaster on 4 March. And, in any case, they do not have the numbers to resist the popular wave against them.
The only weapon: the threat of sanctions from Brussels. But beware: Italy is one of the founders of the European Union. The signal that comes from Rome says that crisis is continental. It will not be easy to defuse it.