Almost one thousand kilometers long, the Italian Peninsula and off-shore islands are of invaluable strategic and economic importance to the EU and NATO.
One of the World’s most fertile alluvial plains fans out from Piedmont to the Veneto and, in a southeastward direction, follows the Apennines all the way to Bologna and the foothills of Romagna along the Adriatic. Within this vast bowl lies the incredible mix of manufacturing and agricultural excellence that has made Italy what it is today: one of the EU’s most important manufacturing and agricultural hubs, second only to Germany and France.
Italy today is also militarily strong. Leonardo and Fincantieri are two Italian defense conglomerates manufacturing superior military and naval hardware, including the fast and heavily armed Bergamini Class Multipurpose Frigates, manufactured under license also by the French.
In the Middle East and Afghanistan, the Italians gained a reputation for the excellence of their armored troop carriers like the Puma, the Lince, and/or tank killers like the 8-wheeled Centauro that mounts a 120 mm cannon and can cruise at over 60 kph. The Ariete is a 50 ton tank with the same 120 mm cannon. These weapon systems have all been battle-tested by the Italian Army, one of Europe’s few combat-ready Armed Forces, having gained valuable experience in Peacekeeping Missions around the Globe.
Italy’s weakness lies in its political system and leadership. The Draghi government was recently forced to resign by pro-Russian coalition partners.
Italians need to move away from low proportional thresholds of representation to higher majority thresholds for representation purposes and access to Parliament if the Country is ever to produce stable governments with shared political Agendas to coincide with the five-year duration of Parliament.
Another solution involving Constitutional Reform would be moving to a Presidential System of Government.
Italians need to reduce the number of political parties, which may be good for the many politicians looking for prima-donna roles but bad for Italian voters that need to focus on the real issues rather than the political hype and blarney.
A Bi-Cameral Legislature of close to one thousand MPs between “Deputies” and “Senators” seems excessive for a country like Italy. When most issues are relatively cut and dry, why is it Italians need seven political parties?.
Forcing real representation on politicians is key: the average Italian Deputy (or Representative, to use the American expression) does not really represent a constituency of Italian voters but, if anyone, the Party Boss that got him elected. Of course, achieving adequate representation would mean overhauling the entire political system. Face-offs between two or more candidates vying for the same “seat” could create voter-“constituencies” now unknown. This would require rewriting the electoral laws, not easy in this land of political mayhem.
Reforming the Constitution and transforming Italy into a Presidential Republic where the President is both Head of State and Head of Government might be a better and less expensive solution.
Today, one Italian Deputy “represents” twenty to thirty-thousand fewer voters than his American counterpart.
Italian law sets no requirements for becoming a Government Minister. The consequences are Ministers sometimes wind up holding Cabinet positions without any prior academic or work experience. One such fly-by-nighter went from unemployed high-school dropout to Foreign Minister in one general election!
In a land where most people identify as being politically Left or Right, the number of political parties seems excessive and should be reduced “whatever it takes.” One way would be to raise the thresholds for accessing Parliament to around 20%, and bingo, no more 7 parties!