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September 15, 2016

Five Star Movement says would like to lead interim government

We picked up this story on a statement by Luigi di Maio, deputy speaker of the Italian chamber of deputies, and a leading figure of the Five Star Movement. Di Maio, who is only 30 years old, said he was ready to lead an interim administration if Matteo Renzi ends up losing the vote on the constitutional referendum in November or December. The main job of such an administration would be to draft reforms to the recently passed electoral laws. In case of a No vote, plans to turn the Senate into an unelected revising chamber would not take place, and Italy would continue with a bi-cameral parliamentary system. The recently introduced electoral reforms, however, only concern the lower house - on the assumption that the constitutional changes would be passed. Di Maio says that the decision would obviously be up to the president, but he said there would be three options: dissolve parliament, find someone to lead a new government, or install an interim administration with the mandate to change the electoral law ahead of new elections. He said that an interim government led by him would also deal with justice and administration reforms.

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September 15, 2016

Andrew Duff's treaty of London

Andrew Duff has been one of the more knowledgeable and level-headed commentators on the Brexit debacle, and continues to make useful contributions such as this blog post on the outlines of a "Treaty of London" that he feels will be necessary to regulate the future relations between the UK and the EU without the need for another constitutional upheaval when circumstances change. Duff assumes that thee UK will want to preserve the best of the political legacy of the 45 years of British EU membership, as well as to retain influence over European affairs. And that it is in the EU's interest to prevent the UK from reverting to its old divide-and-conquer policy towards Europe. He proposes a new affiliate member status for the UK, or at least the same 'core partner' status currently accorded to the US. France, as the EU's remaining nuclear power, would have a responsibility in leading Europe on security, including the interplay of the EU with NATO, which the UK should see as complementary to EU defence cooperation and not undermined by it. The new treaty between the UK and the EU would have to include mutual recognition of standards to smooth trade, as well as regulate the rights of Britons living in the EU and EU citizens in Britain. The UK may extricate itself from the EU charter of fundamental rights but not from the Council of Europe's convention on human rights - but where does that leave the recurrent promise by British politicians, including Theresa May, to evade the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights?

The idea animating Duff's analysis is that the UK and the EU are about to discover just how close they have grown in the past few decades and how costly it would be to completely dissolve their relationship. But, if all of the above - and more detail that doesn't fit in a short summary - is going to remain, what was the point of Brexit not just for the voters but for the politicians that made it possible?

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September 15, 2016

Sarkozy, a converted climate change sceptic?

Nicolas Sarkozy is getting increasingly desperate to keep himself in the news headlines. He is now fashioning himself as a climate-change sceptic, arguing that humans are not the only ones responsible for climate change and that there are more important things to talk about. Is he now turning into a climate change sceptic, wonders Journal du Dimanche. He said that climate changed for the last 4 billions of years. The Sahara turned into the desert without an industry around and it would be arrogant for mankind to say that we changed the climate. Instead he wants to talk about the demographic explosion, where a direct responsibility is undeniable.

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