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Italian Election: A Choice Between Lesser Evils

Decline and resignation seemed to prevail in the Italian elections last weekend. The results of the election show that there is no majority. This will lead either to an unstable government or to the decision to make Italians vote another time.

The main problems in Italy are a stagnant economy, corruption, organized crime, political apathy, misogyny and a youth unemployment higher than 36%.

Across Italy labour costs have risen, whilst living standards are slipping. There have been 14 years of near-zero growth, a deep double-dip recession since 2007 and over 12 months of painful austerity. Italy has the Eurozone’s biggest stock of public debt, at almost 130% of GDP, leading to its loss of competitiveness.

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In a period like this, the outcomes have unavoidably resulted in the loss of faith in the future and a bewilderment of values, leading to a social crisis. The electorate are discontented and dissatisfied. Their choice seems to be one between lesser evils, rather than along partisan lines.

Elisa, a nursing student, told me that, “Politics needs to be loved, rather than respected. Without stable politics a country cannot be governed”.

In her opinion, the Democratic Party is the only one that can represent a significant and progressive change and that can give Italy the chance to arise from 20 years of ignorance, uncaring attitude and conservatism resulting from “Berlusconi’s age”. The Left points out the reduction of the tax wedge, the re-modulation of the IMU and of the capital levy and the securitization of the state real estates as the compelling fiscal reforms.

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The 5 Stars Movement overcomes the other candidates on the web, reaching an outstanding result. Many consider it a necessary “breath of fresh air”, something that is able to shake up the “old Politics”, as Francesco, another student, firmly believes.

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Simone, an Italian student enrolled in a degree in Economics and Maths at the University of Warwick, has come back to Italy to give his preference to Giannino. He bases his choice on a matter of political economy, the priority of the moment, supporting privatization policies of the Anglo-Saxon mould.

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However, no conservatism or populism tendencies can improve the position of Italy. With them, the relapse is unavoidable and the country will not be able to see any glimmer of hope. The frustration and rage of Italians must be addressed elsewhere, towards a progressive and democratic response. The new political policy should revolve around an Economic relaunch and an independent, proactive and egalitarian approach. A way out from the Eurozone is not admissible. Italy needs new and good politics, moving towards a unified rather than a custom-made Europe, with the citizens at the centre of attention.

Renewable energy sources, green economy and new technologies should be the main projects; education, solidarity, a spur for new opportunities in the work environment and a redefinition of welfare and growth policies the chief concerns. Italians have to remember their role and to love their country, thus fighting for it and aspiring to a leading-edge headway. The article 48 of the Italian Constitution is clear: “The vote is personal and equal, free and secret. His practice is civic duty”. Democracy gives us the opportunity to assert ourselves. We cannot draw back.

Erica Doro

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