Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ma Si Sempre Muove!

I really wanted to post about this yesterday, but the constant swings in the polling, made me reluctant to do so. The BBC is reporting that Romano Prodi and his center-left coalition has won not only the lower house of the Italian Parliament but the Senate as well.

The election was close real close , the lower house victory was gained by only a 25,000 vote margin. Prodi's apparent victory isn't really that much of a surprise. Italy under Berlusconi has seen its economy sink, foreign debts grow, and allegations of corruption abound.

Gee that sounds familiar.....

The issue that may have pushed Prodi over the top is the countries involvement in Iraq. It is no secret that the ruling coalition's support of the the
Iraq invasion was not popular with the general population. This rejection of Berlusconi's foreign policy mirrors that of Spain's back in 2004. Even Berlusconi's tepid promise to withdraw from Iraq was, if the results hold, not enough to save his government.

Italy's economy has been in a malaise for most of Berlusconi's tenure, however it must be noted that Italy has suffered with a pschizo economy since the end of WWII. The seemingly endless transition from a rural/ agrarian economy to a modern industrial one has born much of the blame for this. While the north has made great strides in this direction, it is southern Italy that contains much of the rural poor.

Inflation is a low to moderate 1.7% but the GDP suffers from an anemic growth rate of around .02% and debt/GDP 0f 107.3%. Unemployment hovers in between 8%-11% and is made worse by a parasitic industrial growth rate of -1.5% (2005).

Prodi's coalition of Liberals, Socialists, and Communists will have to show the internal resolve to stick together that Berlusconi's during his tenure. The new coalition should try to entice some of the more moderate elements of Berlusconi's coalition to join the new government in order to shore up what might be very shaky grounds.

Regardless, the one constant about Italy is that nothing is constant, but as the headline states, Ma Si Sempre Muove, and still it goes.

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