Opinion / Politics

A Test for Bersani – by Stefano Folli

20130304_bersani8puntiThe wheel is turning, Bersani says. And while turning, it has brought two new parliamentary speakers for the party that holds the relative majorityAnna Finocchiaro and Franceschini were not confirmed as that would have looked like a joke. Zanda and Speranza were nominated instead. Zanda is a symbol of balance and is very experienced, a quality that is very much needed in the Senate.

Speranza is very young and another confirmation of the “green line” Bersani cares so much about: partly in order to regain the sympathy of public opinion, and in particular so as to eliminate, step by step, the old political class that can be an obstacle for him.

Of course the wheel is turning, and tomorrow Bersani will meet president Napolitano to discuss his plans for the next government. At the moment, the plan is quite vague in terms of content (the now famous 8-point program) and is very oriented toward promoting renewal through the appointment of outsiders. It’s a coherent path: first the presidents of the House and the Senate, then the speakers and now — if feasible — the new ministers. There will be many non-professional politicians among the ministers and few from the party.

What’s the weakness of this project? The fact that the person who designed it cannot stop: he must continue quickly and score one success after another. If he stops, the whole castle risks collapsing. We should not forget that the center-left had a modest result in the latest election, and that Parliament is still divided in three equivalent blocks (despite the absurd majority premium in effect in the House.) Bersani acted as a leader in the first days of the legislature thanks to the direct investiture derived from the primaries, but his margin for maneuver is not at all unlimited. He has already created a lot of unhappiness and a lot of people are only waiting for the first problems to emerge so as to settle terms with him. He must therefore move quickly, and show that the 5 Star Movement can be tamed and that it will be inarticulate.

But he must do that without becoming like the 5 Star Movement, without exaggerating and dissolving the political identity of the Democratic Party: a party that on paper says it takes inspiration from the reformist traditions of the 20th century, but that today, after a sudden transformation, seems to be flirting with anti-politics forces.It’s undoubtedly an ambitious goal: seduce members of the 5 Star Movement without leaving the helm. They must be aware that the situation is dramatic and they certainly don’t expect any parliamentary alchemy. It’s a tough challenge, perhaps it’s too much even for Bersani, who when he was elected secretary inaugurated his term with one of his typical statements: “I will proceed by adopting the slow pace of the members of the Italian Alpine troops.” We must admit that he went a long way since then. But now a slow pace is no longer needed. When the wheel turns, Bersani walks on the fringes on a precarious balance: in order to stand, he must run.

We will see in the next few days whether a majority can be formed in the Senate. It’s true that Monti suggested he is open to something, but he was ambiguous (“We will be loyal to PDL, but the country must be governed.“) This sentence suggests a lot of opposite things. It’s hard to believe that the external support of the Northern League, a sort of “technical” confidence vote, will be enough for Bersani and especially for Napolitano. But as we said, the wheel is turning. The match will take place in Parliament, where in a month the successor of Napolitano will be elected. Everything is fluid and the real danger are tensions. Not so much between political forces, as that’s normal, but between politicians and the president, someone whom they should all be thankful to.


Read the Italian version at Il Sole 24 Ore


One thought on “A Test for Bersani – by Stefano Folli

  1. Pingback: Italy’s Government, Bersani Keeps on Struggling | theitalianist

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