Italy is held hostage by the political vacuum


Sleeping in the Italian Parliament
Sleeping in the Italian Parliament

Held hostage by the political vacuum and by a man who for twenty years puts his personal interests before the collective interest of the country. This is the tragic marshy situation in which is Italy.

Despite the financial and economic crisis that is strangling the country, the dramatic loss of jobs – with a youth unemployment rate of almost 40% – and the continuing decline in consumption, the Italian parliament is struggling these days – as it happens twenty years from now – with the judicial issues of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Disputes in Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s coalition may hinder investor confidence in Italy and jepopardize its return to growth from the longest slump since World War II, the International Monetary Fund said.

“Tensions between the coalition partners are apparent and represent a key risk to the economic outlook,” the Washington-based lender said in a report. “Loss of market confidence could be significant and push Italy into a self-reinforcing bad equilibrium and protracted period of slow growth.”

The IMF reiterated forecasts published on July 4 of an economic contraction of 1.8 percent this year and 0.7 percent expansion in 2014. Letta’s budget plan saw gross domestic product falling 1.7 percent in 2013 and rising 1 percent next year. The government also expects the country’s two-year recession to end in the fourth quarter.

Italy’s ability to boost its growth potential may strengthen with the implementation of comprehensive reforms and other measures including the program of arrears payments to private companies, the report said.

Still, progress may be hampered by bickering between the parties in Letta’s over the fate of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, whose People of Liberty party has threatened to topple the government if he is expelled from the Senate. Letta’s Democratic Party is seeking to strip Berlusconi of his Senate seat after he was convicted of tax fraud in August.

These are the results of a country where you do not reward merit but loyalty to a leader, where each pursues the own narrow self-interest, where it is gradually lost national solidarity, where very often you choose the easy way out though the consequences can be disastrous.

Italy deserves a better political class. But we know – unfortunately – that the political class is a reflection of the society.

Felice Amori

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