Thursday, February 28, 2013

Italy's election

Mario Margiocco reports on this week's Italian election in Italy’s Perfect Political Storm Project Syndicate 02/27/2013. He gives some interesting background on the Italian Democratic Party (PD), the party that headed the top vote-getting center-left alliance:

The PD failed to win a clear victory for reasons both remote and recent. The PD is called center left, but it is more realistically described as left and center. When it was created 20 years ago, two-thirds of its members were former Communists ([party leader Pier Luigi] Bersani himself comes from this group) and one-third were former Christian Democrats. Now, of course, it contains many younger people who joined after those two old historical parties collapsed.

From its Communist ancestor, the PD inherited a deep-seated credo as "a party both of struggle and government." That notion can work in opposition, but it never works in government: even in Italy, you cannot demonstrate in the streets against yourself. [my emphasis]
I wouldn't want to overgeneralize from Italy's experience. The did go through some political reforms around the time the PD in its current form came into being that succeeded in providing greater stability to a country that had the reputation of frequent changes in government.

But it does make me wonder if some of the social-democratic parties of Europe may be headed for some similar fate as the former Italian Communist Party (PCI). With the Social Democrats in Germany, France and Spain faithfully tagging along to the destructive austerity policies advocated by German Chancellor Angela "Frau Fritz" Merkel, it's possible their leaders and elected officials will decide they are better off merging with the Christian Democrats or some new center-right grouping that could emerge. It's a vague speculation, I know. But the Greek Social Democratic Party (PASOK) is already facing such a prospect.

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