Italy in the middle of an eternal crisis

President Sergio Mattarella has chosen not to appoint Eurosceptic Paolo Savona as Minister of the Economy. This will have major political consequences and could contribute to the alienation of Italian voters from the European Union and the eurozone.

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
Italy in the middle of an eternal crisis - NewsMavens
President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella

Why this story matters:

The question of the legitimacy of this choice -- which resulted in Giuseppe Conte's resignation of his mandate to be Prime Minister, and the re-assignment of the appointment to Carlo Cottarelli -- has kept politicians and constitutional law experts busy for days, but what really matters most here is analyzing the opportunity this offers to euro-skeptics.

Mattarella's decision seems to be a harbinger of heavy political consequences.

By attributing his choice to the protection of investors and the importance of its euro connections, Mattarella has in fact supported those who argue that membership in the EU brings with it an unacceptable loss of sovereignty, thus weakening the position of the euro-enthusiasts (or at least the euro-convinced).

The situation is changing very fast and at this moment the League and the 5 Star Movement have just reopened negotiations to find an agreement in order to create a government. 

If no agreement is reached, it seems very likely that the upcoming political elections will turn into a plebiscite on Italy's staying in the Eurozone or not, or even on Italy's membership of the European Union. And it is also likely that the League will capitalize, in terms of electoral approval, in this situation.

Details from the story:

  • On March 4, Italians voted in the parliamentary elections. The party that scored the most votes --  32,68% -- was the 5 Star Movement (M5s).
  • After more than two months, the League and M5s have indicated as their possible choice for Prime Minister, lawyer Giuseppe Conte, who on May 23 was asked to form the government by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella.
  • On May 27, Mattarella refused the appointment of Paolo Savona as Minister of Economy, as a supporter of the exit from the euro, for fear of putting at risk the savings of Italian citizens.
  • The issue of exit from the euro had not been touched on during the election campaign and was not in the program of The League or M5s, but did appear in a first draft of the government contract between the coalition which was published by the media.
  • The League and M5s did not want to consider other possibilities. Not even Mattarella's proposal to appoint Giancarlo Giorgetti, the League's number two, as Minister for the Economy.
  • Giuseppe Conte resigned his appointment and Mattarella entrusted it to the economist Carlo Cottarelli, whose government seems destined not to obtain the confidence of the Parliament. Even in the latter case, however, he will lead the country until early elections.
  • Opinions are divided on the question of the legitimacy of the president's actions. The leader of M5s, Luigi Di Maio, first hypothesized prosecuting the President of the Republic for treason but after a couple of days he withdrew his proposal. 

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