How to overcome the political gridlock in Italy
Italy is the proverbial example of a country whose position in the eurozone is simultaneously unsustainable and without concrete alternative. The political situation is in strong flux right now, but possibly not so strong that it will end the political gridlock resulting from the presence of three large party grouping, each unwilling to form coalitions with the other. Even Germany is not immune from such gridlock, which is an inevitable by-product of all systems of proportional representations.
Corriere della Sera today has a useless additional analysis of the raw polling data it initially published over the weekend. Those had shown a further weakening in the support of the PD, which is part of a clear trend that in our view has not yet run its course.
Here the latest projections how the polls were to translate into governing majorities. The second of those charts shows the dynamisms of the trend against the PD in the last few weeks.
Logic dictates that any outcomes that would resembles such a three-party gridlock would eventually require a coalition of those parties - PD and Forza Italia would not have a majority, not even with the Lega or the left. A coalition of PD and Five Star is at least numerically possible, but not politically, especially as we expect Five Star to become more radical as the centre-right becomes more centrist. A coalition of the populists - led by Five Star and Lega - is another option, but against without a majority.
What happens if such a result came about? We reported by that President Sergio Matterella is considering leaving Paolo Gentilone in office while negotiations last. As Corriere della Sera reports Silvio Berlusconi finds this preferable to a technical government, which has been the usual answer to political gridlock in the country. Gentilone would continue not in an acting capacity, but endowed with all the paraphernelia of power of an elected prime minister.
Is there support for a grand coalition? Like in Germany, the members of both parties are deeply sceptical. And unlike in Germany, the two sides do not believe that they have the necessary numbers, at least not without the support either of the Left, which would make such a construction unpalatable to Berlusconi, or the Lega, which would not work with the PD. One option people are discussing is a hybrid between political and technical government, but it all shows how desperate the situation is - given the current polls.