General Elections Anyone?

Italians may be called to the polls this fall, sometime between September and October. The “system” has seemingly opted for a return to Italy’s parliamentary past, i.e. before the birth of the so-called “Second Republic” ushered in by Silvio Berlusconi back in the ’90s.

For years thereafter the Italian Constitution of 1947 was essentially modified by “course of dealing” as the major political forces agreed to henceforth allow Italians, not the Parliament, to elect the Head of the Executive Branch as a “premier” of sorts  to last concurrently with the legislature.

At least four Italian governments were elected by popular vote in repeated departures from the constitutional norm. Even the unelected governments that followed Berlusconi’s ouster in 2011, including the present (Gentiloni) government, constitute departures from what otherwise provided in the Constitution. Now for some reason General Elections are so urgent they cannot wait for the present legislature to expire on its terms in February of 2018, when unless sooner terminated, the Gentiloni government would also lapse.

A modified version of the “German” electoral law has rapidly been adapted to better suit the ambitions of the Italian leadership, meaning Matteo Renzi and Silvio Berlusconi. Both men of course are like the proverbial Phoenix but depending on the outcome of this latest imbroglio, which will see Italians go to the polls for the first time since Berlusconi was ousted in the bloodless “coup” that brought Marvelous Mario Monti to Office in 2011, could well spell disaster for the two leaders and their respective coalitions.



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