The Italian elections have resulted in the predicted swing against the centre-left pro-EU Democratic Party, the successor of Italy’s once mighty Communist Party – the party of Togliatti and Gramsci – and today the Party of outgoing Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
From a position in 2008, when the Democratic Party won 37% of the vote in the parliamentary elections of that year, it fell to 25% of the vote in the elections of 2013, and has no fallen further to just 19% of the vote in the elections which have been held now.
The result is that the Democratic Party has now fallen to third place behind the combined Beppe Grillo’s insurrectionary Five Star Movement (which won 32% of the vote) and the right wing alliance nominally led by Matteo Salvini but whose best know figure is Silvio Berlusconi, the individual who has dominated Italian politics since the Tangentopoli scandal of the early 1990s.
As it happen, the result of the election was almost as big a blow for Berlusconi as it was for the Democratic Party. Expectations that he would emerge as the ‘kingmaker’ in forming a new Italian government have been dashed, with his Forza Italia Party winning only 14%, less than its alliance partner, the considerably more right wing Northern League, which won 17.7% of the vote, and which is now clearly established as a powerful force in Lombardy and the Veneto.
What the Italian election in fact shows is the gathering pace across Europe of the swing against establishment parties which are strongly identified with the EU.
Though Berlusconi has had his own major falling outs with the EU establishment at various points during his political career, he is nonetheless very much a member of the Italian…