Now Renzi’s government has to think continentally. Yesterday the European Commission published a deep analysis about the macroeconomic imbalances amongst the member states of the European Union, and it classified Italy (along with Croatia and Slovenia) as a country with an “excessive imbalance”. The Commission urged Italy to approve reforms in order to solve these problems, in particular to reduce the public debt. Matteo Renzi and Pier Carlo Padoan, the Minister of the Economics, reassured Italian people by saying that they were already aware of this situation and that they are already working to try to improve the national economy.
Also, today Renzi will attend his first meeting in the European Council. It is a meeting held under extraordinary circumstances and focused on the crisis in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, in Italy the discussion about the Italicum continues. The focus is now on the introduction of quotas into the law. It seems that the amendment assuring the equal opportunities of representation for men and women was withdrawn. This causes discontent, especially among female parliamentarians.
The new Minister for the Constitutional Reforms and Relationship with the Parliament, Maria Elena Boschi, replied to Beppe Grillo’s call for the resignation of other undersecretaries of the Democratic Party because of their problems with the law. She pointed out that these undersecretaries have not yet been convicted. Until the final judgment of the tribunals, she argued, they should be assumed innocent and should not be forced to resign.
Yesterday in late afternoon, Silvio Berlusconi, leader of Forza Italia, announced his party’s endorsement of the electoral reform. After a long meeting with his collaborators, Berlusconi decided to accept the so-called “D’Attore amendment,” presented by a parliamentarian of the Democratic Party. The proposal was to approve the electoral law only for the Chamber of Deputies and to leave the old electoral law (the so called “Consultellum”) for the Senate. Matteo Renzi seems undisturbed by the fact that two different electoral systems could bring about two different majorities in the two Chambers. He announced during an official visit to Tunisi that the Senate will very soon be transformed and no longer be elected.
Angelino Alfano and his New Center Right party seem satisfied by the current draft of the electoral law. So, too, is the minority of the Democratic Party, apart from Peppe Civati, who wrote in his blog that he has doubts about the constitutionality of this reform. Civati has called on Giorgio Napolitano, the President of the Republic, to intervene in the debate and to express his opinion.
Beppe Grillo, leader of the 5SM, has asked for the resignation of a previously convicted undersecretary, Lorenzo Battista, following the resignation of Tonino Gentile. Meanwhile, one of the parliamentarians expelled by the movement in last days, declared to the TV program “Le Iene” that ex 5SM parliamentarians will found a new group within the Parliament.
Yesterday the tribunal of Milan decided that Silvio Berlusconi cannot attend the meeting of the European People’s Party that will be held on March 6th and 7th in Dublin because he is not allowed to leave the country following his conviction for fiscal fraud.
By Blair Simmons, NYU ‘16
Over the last few months many students have engaged with the dialogues and their speakers by writing pieces on and around the topics addressed. In the first dialogue of the new year, Humanitarian Politics in Syria: Past and Present, Simon Jackson contextualized the current situation in Syria by looking at a previous humanitarian effort in greater Syria at the close of World War One. Nicole D’Alessio, a freshman at NYU Florence, wrote a profile on Jackson, giving students and faculty alike an opportunity to get to know who was presenting upon such a controversial topic as the a-political politics of humanitarian aid. Wenqi Yu, also a freshman at NYU Florence, wanted to know more about Jackson’s position on philanthropy and its role in the media, so she conducted an interview. Terence Tan, a junior at NYU Florence, was wondering about the cause of such a conflict and further looked into the (mis)development of the state. His result was a comprehensive profile of the situation in Syria.
Another dialogue series, which just concluded its introductory sessions on February 26th, was European Politics 2014: The EU in Focus. This series preceded the EU parliamentary elections taking place in May 2014. Laura Valenza covered all four of the events and produced a synopsis in which she highlights the most important aspects of each topic presented.
Photographs: Tommaso Bonaventura and Alessandro Imbriaco
Curated by: Fabio Severo – See more
By Blair Simmons, NYU ’16
(photo by Alessandro Imbriaco and Tommaso Bonaventura)
On March 5th, there will be a round table discussion on Corpi di Reato, a photographic work in progress by Alessandro Imbriaco and Tommaso Bonaventura and conducted under the curatorial direction of Fabio Severo. This round table discussion is a part of the series [Documentary Photography: Through the Lens], which is being curated at NYU Florence in Villa Sassetti by Alessandra Capodaqua. The photography of Imbriaco and Bonaventura captures the effect the mafia has had on Italy. The aftermath of the war against the mafia is vividly portrayed through courtrooms, physical and material evidence, car skeletons, mug shots, mausoleums dedicated to heroes, and bunkers. The story that is being told is one of emptiness, as many of the pictures don’t have a single person in it. This emptiness is the feeling that is left after the height of the bloodshed. The mafia has imperceptibly incorporated itself into daily society. This photo series, Corpi di Reato, sews a visual thread through the massacres in order to create a picture of the entity that has been imperceptible throughout the years. It is through understanding where the mafia has affected places in the past that will help create a picture of where they are now.
Getting approval for the new electoral law is proving difficult for Matteo Renzi. Today it will be voted on in the Parliament, but it seems that a compromise has not yet been reached. Renzi has to reconcile the requests of Alfano with the Nazareno Pact made between Renzi and Berlusconi on January 29th. The major point of departure regards the Senate reform that the New Center Right party wants to be approved with the electoral law but that Forza Italia wants to delay. Renzi tried to mediate by proposing the immediate approval of the electoral law with the delayed implementation of it in 18 months, when the reform regarding the Senate would also be approved. Still, Silvio Berlusconi seems disillusioned. His political counselor, Giovanni Toti, announced that the Forza Italia leader’s trust in Renzi is weakening and that, if the Nazareno Pact is not respected, Berlusconi will reveal the formerly unpublicized aspects of the agreement.
In the meanwhile, Tonino Gentile, one of the new undersecretaries of Renzi’s government, was forced to resign after the news about his trouble with a newspaper that wanted to publish news suggesting a relationship between his son and organized crime. Angelino Alfano did not approve of the resignation, but Renzi thought it was the best solution in order to avoid a call for a vote of confidence, which would be very dangerous for the nascent government.
Meanwhile, Beppe Grillo’s problems continue. Firstly, he was convicted yesterday for four months for his participation in the NO TAV protest, which occurred in northern Italy in response to the construction of a new railway. Secondly, he posted a tweet censuring the 5SM mayor of Parma, Federico Pizzarotti, who organized a meeting of 5SM mayors in March without consulting him.
Renzi’s government is hit by a new polemic. Antonio Gentile, member of the New Center Right and one of the new undersecretaries of the Renzi’s government, was asked to resign by the Democratic Party. The reason involves his behavior toward the director of a local Calabrese newspaper four years ago when he wanted to publish an article dealing with the possible relationship between Paolo Gentile, son of Tonino, and criminality. Angelino Alfano defended Gentile by saying that the media is just waging war against the undersecretary and his party.
In the meanwhile, the Chamber of Deputies is discussing the electoral law. Tomorrow they will vote on it. This issue is very problematic for Renzi: he has to decide whether to respect of the pact signed with Berlusconi on 18th January or to meet the requests of Alfano, who wants change that agreement. Also Prof. Roberto D’Alimonte, in an interview with the Corriere, explained how it is necessary to modify the text of the Italicum in order to avoid risks of unconstitutionality.
All in all, Renzi’s government seems to enjoy a favorable beginning. Indeed, surveys show how the voters’ support is increasing. According to La Repubblica, which published results of a Demos&Pi’s survey, the Democratic Party has the support of more than 34% of the voters against the 21.5% of Forza Italia and the 21.3% of Five Star Movement. These results seem to be caused by the shifting of M5S voters to the Democratic Party.
Renzi’s government is progressing as he hoped it would. The International Monetary Fund voiced its approval yesterday on the direction of the economic reforms that Renzi wants to implement. The list of the vice-ministers and the undersecretaries is almost ready, and the dispute with Ignazio Marino, the mayor of Rome, who yesterday threatened to block all the administrative activities in Rome if the salva-Roma decree is not approved, seems to have relaxed after a phone call during which Renzi explained to Marino that this is not the moment to create difficulties.
Times are more difficult for the Five Star Movement. Yesterday, six senators resigned and the polemics inside the group were numerous. The heaviest criticisms regarded the system used by Beppe Grillo and Gianroberto Casaleggio, the two leaders of the movement, to organize online consultations. It seems that the system is not secure and that the results of these consultations with the movement’s base are not reliable.
In the meantime, the Office of the Presidency of the Chamber of Deputies decided on the sanctions to inflict on those unruly Deputies who on 29th January interrupted the discussion on the approval of the IMU-Bankitalia decree. Many deputies of the 5SM were suspended for 10 days, and the senators of Civic Choice, accused of violent behavior towards 5SM Deputy Loredana Lupo, were suspended for 15 days, the maximum possible sanction.
Finally, the Assembly of Democratic Party voted yesterday to accede to the European Socialist Party, thus starting a campaign for seats in the next European Parliament.
Forecasters started to announce results of their voter elections surveys about the votes for the European Parliament elections, and the forecasts are very interesting. Indeed, according the PollWatch 2014, a project that who provides regular predictions of the outcome of the 2014 European Parliament elections, Socialists will gain more seats than the People’s Party. This would overturn the actual current situation, in which where the People’s Party detains holds the majority number of seats. PollWatch predicts also that the next European Parliament will also be more polarized than the current one. More seats will be gained by radical left, radical right, and anti-Europeans, while and fewer seats will be filled by members of for the centrist groups.
In the meantime the electoral campaigns its are underway. In Italy the supporters of Alexis Tsipras, the candidate for the Commission Presidency for the GUE/NGL group, formed a list called L’Altra Europa.
Forza Italia announced that all of its MEPs present in this legislature will be candidates in the upcoming elections, and Raffaele Baldassare, chief of the group of Forza Italia in the European Parliament, announced that its party hopes that Silvio Berlusconi will run for a seat as well. In April, the nature of Berlusconi’s criminal sentencing Silvio Berlusconi and this decision will determine his the candidature in the next European elections.
Yesterday, the Italian Democratic Party voted to accede to the European Socialist Party. The result of the vote was favorable and the President of the European Socialist Party, Serghei Stanishev, commented that this is an important step forward because without the Italian Democratic Party, he said, the European Socialist Family was incomplete.
While Matteo Renzi, in his first official day as head of the Italian government, met students and teachers in Treviso, Beppe Grillo faced what might be the worst crisis so far for his movement.
Yesterday, the Assembly of the Five Star Movement discussed and voted in favor of the expulsion of the four parliamentarians who criticized Grillo for his behavior during his consultation with the new Prime Minister. But the decision was not unanimous. It was a dramatic affair. Some people were crying, while others lambasted members of the movement as “fascists” and “cannibals” and accused them of spying. There were also people who threatened to resign if the expulsion was approved. After the Assembly of the Five Star Movements voted favorably for the expulsion, the “people of the web” voted in favor as well.
This event causes real chaos in the Five Star Movement and raises the possibility that members who do not approve of Grillo’s behavior could defect from the M5S group in the Parliament and establish a new group. Earlier today Pippo Civati, leader of the minority of the PD announced in an interview with Il Fatto Quotidiano that it is possible that the dissidents of the PD and dissidents of the 5SM could jointly establish a new group. La Stampa writes that Civati has already decided the name of the new group, “The New Center Left,” and has already prepared the symbol. Civati may be aiming to take the place of Alfano in the government majority