Pier Luigi Bersani has twice ruled out the possibility of a grand coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition, and Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement wants no part of overtures from Bersani.
There is insufficient support for another technocrat. So, the logical conclusion is new elections are forthcoming. But when?
Reader “AC” who is from Italy but now lives in France explains …
Now that elections are over and declarations have been made by the three major party leaders, we can look at what’s ahead for Italy. In a nutshell: It’s highly likely that no empowered government will be in charge for six months or longer, and in September Italy will be voting again.
The first session of the Parliament will take place on 3-15. By 3-20, the presidents of the Chamber and Senate will be elected. The President will then meet with parliament groups to see if a government can be formed. Based on statements made by the key political parties, no grand coalition is possible.
By 4-15 the Parliament will seek to elect a new President because the mandate of Napolitano expires on 5-15 and Napolitano has already said he will not accept another term. Outgoing presidents at the end of their term are forbidden by the constitution to call new elections. Therefore, Italy has to wait for the new president to be elected. This process may take until the end of May.
It is unlikely that the first act of a newly elected president would be to dissolve the Parliament without any attempt to merge some sort of temporary solution. Look for the new President to seek another technocrat PM who can garner enough support in parliament. Garnering sufficient support in parliament for another technocrat PM also seems impossible. The only choice left would be to call new elections.
The problem is that at this point we will likely be at the middle of June. A new election could take place at the end of July or mid-August, but that is the middle of the summer holiday season. I think very unlikely that a President will call elections during that period. So, the earliest month that elections would likely take place is September (with an electoral campaign in August, not exactly the right month for that either).
The end result is likely to be a delay of at least 6 months, without a real government able to make significant decisions in the interim.
Matteo Renzi, the Mayor of Florence, may be a game-changer in the next elections. I believe he will be the next PM candidate for the Center-Left. A lot of people thinks that if Renzi had been the Center-Left candidate things would have been much different.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock