Italy’s government is on the verge of collapse. Prime minister Matteo Renzi reiterated his position just yesterday, he will not hang on if a referendum he seeks does not pass.
Polls show the referendum will fail. Then again, polls have not been remarkably accurate recently, to say the least. On the other hand, this poll shows a strong preference to what is labeled “populism”.
Finally, there is always a chance Renzi will not resign and he is only attempting to manipulate the vote. Let’s sort this all out.
Let It All Hang Out
Renzi Rules Out Leading Technocratic Government After Referendum
Please consider Renzi Rules Out Leading Technocratic Government After Referendum.
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has ruled out leading a caretaker government if he is defeated in a key constitutional referendum next month, removing some of the uncertainty surrounding his political future after the vote.
Mr Renzi had said early in the campaign that he would resign if he lost but has faced pressure from some lawmakers in his Democratic Party to stay on regardless of the outcome on December 4.
In a radio interview with Rtl 102.5 on Thursday, he decisively rejected the notion.
“If the citizens vote no and want a decrepit system that does not work, I will not be the one to deal with other parties for a caretaker government – a little government, ” Mr Renzi
Italy Polls Get Worse for Renzi as Referendum Nears
Reuters reports Italy Polls Get Worse for Renzi as Referendum Nears.
Opinion polls are making increasingly grim reading for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi less than three weeks ahead of a referendum on constitutional reform on which he has staked his political future.
Of 32 polls published by 11 different pollsters since Oct. 21, every one has the ‘No’ camp ahead, and generally by a widening margin.
In three polls published on Monday the lead for ‘No’ ranged from five points, according to IPR Marketing, to seven points, according to Tecne, with EMG Acqua in the middle at 6 points.
These results exclude undecided voters, which are estimated at 25.9 percent by EMG Acqua and 16.5 percent by Tecne. The most worrying aspect for Renzi is that as the number of undecided voters declines, the lead for ‘No’ appears to be rising.
Bookmakers also hold out little hope for the 41-year-old premier, with Ladbrokes estimating a roughly 75 percent probability of a win for ‘No.’
However, most pollsters continue to say the outcome of the Dec. 4. ballot remains uncertain.
They point out that opinion polls already proved notoriously wrong in the June referendum in which Britons chose to leave the European Union and most recently when Americans elected republican Donald Trump to the presidency on Nov. 8.
Blowout Against Renzi?
Politico reports Matteo Renzi to Lose Constitutional Referendum: Polls.
All polls by some of Italy’s biggest media outlets, held just before the pre-vote ban on publishing voter’s intentions, suggest that Italians are likely to reject Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plan to limit powers of the Senate.
According to a poll conducted by Corriere della Sera newspaper, 55 percent of the people plan to vote ‘No’ and 45 percent ‘Yes’ to changes. The survey also suggested that around a third of the population is familiar with the content of the reform.
What’s It All About?
After all this time and electioneering by Matteo Renzi in Italy, and only a third of voters know what the referendum is about?!
Political populism: Is Italy next?
A rejection of Renzi’s reform plans in a referendum risks toppling the government says the Financial Times in Political populism: Is Italy next?
If the Italian prime minister loses a high-stakes referendum on his flagship constitutional reform set for December 4, it could bring his tenure in office — and his entire political project — to an abrupt and premature end.
“Renzi went for broke, and if he wins, the coast will be clear. But if he loses, it will be devastating,” said Paolo Donzelli, a 53-year-old Florentine car salesman seated at one of the large round tables set up at the conference. “This is the showdown, the big political battle. And then, as they say in Florence, they will count the dead.”
“It could be another watershed moment for Europe so there is huge interest and attention,” says Andrea Montanino, director of the global business and economics programme at the Atlantic Council. “Renzi is considered an anchor in a very complex picture.”
Mr Renzi is now scrambling to save his political skin. His first mistake, which the prime minister has acknowledged, was excessively personalising the referendum by vowing to resign and leave politics if he lost.
“The electorate is scared and doesn’t see solutions. They will use the vote to hit those who are in power and the paradox here is that Renzi is now seen as the quintessence of the establishment,” says Giovanni Orsina, a professor of politics at Luiss University in Rome. “Renzi is like the poker player who keeps upping the ante even if his cards are bad. He’s a prisoner of his own bluff.”
Students against Renzi
In the quite laughable column, “Renzi hired Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, to help with strategy and the get-out-the-vote operation, despite his inability to clinch a victory for Britain’s David Cameron in the EU referendum.”
Italian Debt Sinks 14% Since October
Also consider Italy’s 50-Year Bond Burnt in Global Sell-Off.
Prices for Italy’s longest-dated government debt have fallen 14 per cent since its sale in early October, inflicting a paper loss of €140,000 for every €1m bought by investors.
The shunning of the bond comes as polls point to a potential defeat in the December 4 vote for Matteo Renzi, the centre left prime minister, who has staked his political future on Italian voters approving the reforms.
At the time of its sale, Italy’s 50-year bond was seen as an extraordinary success — drawing €18bn of investor bids for a €5bn issue.
Waiting in the Wings
Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S), is waiting in the wings.
That Wikipedia chart is stale, dating from August. I like it because it shows the trend clearly. More recent polls show M5S slightly in the lead.
Given all the political uncertainties, it is difficult to say. Italy has a poll cutoff on the referendum so what we have now is about all we are going to see until December 4.
Coast Clear on Win?
Finally, and very importantly, I take exception to this comment from above: “Renzi went for broke, and if he wins, the coast will be clear”.
That is not true at all. The worst possible setup would be for Renzi to win the reform, but lose the next election.
The reform weakens the Senate and gives an absolute majority of lower Parliament to whoever wins the election.
As it stands right now, I would bet on the Five Star Movement. And M5S is anti-euro and anti-EU.
Those hoping for a win on the referendum now, may be extremely grateful it failed after the next election.
For now, the most likely setup is a collapse of the Italian government following a defeat of the referendum.
It’s time for a musical tribute
Mike “Mish” Shedlock