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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 06 ottobre 2012 alle ore 05:58.
L'ultima modifica è del 06 ottobre 2012 alle ore 02:49.


If our political paradigm doesn’t change, next year’s election is very likely to take us into a black alley. The dominant political paradigm still revolves around three assumptions:

1. The 2013 election will take place in a country that has returned to normalcy and escaped the danger posed by financial default. According to this view, the European Central Bank (ECB) will protect us from financial speculation and no conditionality will be imposed upon us.

2. The 2013 election will resemble an election in a democracy like all others. The real conflict will occur between the left and the right, while the center will have to pick which side to back.

3. The assumption is that the parties we know, those of the so-called Second Republic, will participate in the election. Despite recent scandals, these parties continue to represent a point of reference for voters. 

These three assumptions are groundless. First assumption: next’s year election won’t take place in country that has become normal. Italy will continue to be exposed to political and economic risks for a long time to come, due to a public debt that’s among the highest in the world. The reduction of debt will require spending cuts and rationalization that will encounter inevitable resistances. At the same time, it’s hard to reduce public debt without jump-starting growth and moving resources from nonproductive to productive sectors. Without coherent and long-term policies, neither the markets nor the ECB will discount us anything.

Second assumption: the Italian political system’s main fracture is not between the right and the left but between those who view the agreements with the EU favorably and want to honor them and those who question them. Of course, it’s possible to be in favor of Europe while at the same time asking the European Union to promote pro-growth policies, in addition to austerity measures. However, there is a clear distinction between those who accept operating within the framework of what’s required by Europe and those who don’t recognize such obligations. The result is that divisions over Europe go beyond right and left. Anti-Europeanism, if not nationalist or regionalist sovereignism, is present in both coalitions. If Europe today represents the main ground for conflict, how is to possible to organize an electoral campaign based on a traditional political paradigm? The Democratic Party (PD) in particular should think about this, since it sees electoral success around the corner. The PD cannot ignore that an election won by forming a coalition with a large anti-European component (such as the Left Ecology Freedom party and radical labor groups) will soon turn into a defeat on the government side. The reformist left will not win an election in at least a generation if the experience of the Prodi government, which fell ignominiously after two years due to internal divisions, repeats itself. 

Third assumption: no political party can believe it is immune from discredit. Scandals call into question an entire party system, not just individual political groups or public officials. Of course, it’s not fair to say that everyone has the same degree of responsibility. However, it’s clear that parties have developed an overall complicity. Even when immune from corruption, they were not strong enough to report it. For this reason, no party can get out of radically redefining itself. 

 That’s why it’s necessary to adopt a new paradigm. Responsible political leaders should acknowledge that Italy needs a coherent political system in order to continue on the path to structural reforms. It’s also important to bring together political forces that wish to strengthen our relationship with Europe and to reform parties so as to make them able to govern a modern country. These goals cannot be reached by making irreversible steps backward, such as adopting a proportional electoral system, which would not allow us to have a government in the short term nor, in the long run, to form a parliament able to reform the institutional system. These goals won’t be achieved if pro-Europe parties split up and give in to the influence of anti-Europe groups. The 2013 election will be a referendum on our relationship with Europe. Europeanists must find original and creative solutions if they don’t want to lose it.