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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 03 novembre 2012 alle ore 04:57.
L'ultima modifica è del 03 novembre 2012 alle ore 02:21.



The “Battle of the Bulge” between the traditional parties—or, more precisely, the center-left ones—and the movement headed by Beppe Grillo has begun. Really, what we are witnessing is nothing more than an attempt by the former comedian to annex the electorate of Italia dei Valori (IDV, the party founded by noted Tangentopoli judge Antonio Di Pietro). In this, Grillo—already well know for his populist interpretation of politics—has shown a great sense of timing, given the speed with which he took advantage of the crisis that has invested Di Pietro and his followers.

The battle on the horizon looks fierce and unforgiving, although, for now, Grillo has a complete tactical advantage. He manages to scare his opponents by demonstrating, with hard facts, that he is capable of snatching their voters away. It clearly happened in Sicily, and it could very well happen again soon in the Lombardy and Lazio regions. Angelino Alfano, party secretary of People of Liberty (PDL, the center-right coalition founded and headed until recently by Silvio Berlusconi), has been suggesting, maybe not by chance, that the various regional elections be held with the national one.

Anything is better than a slow meltdown that will only help Grillo’s party. We will see. What we do know is that the traditional parties do not have effective arguments. They can discredit Grillo; insinuate that Gianroberto Casaleggio, the party’s mastermind, or “the ideologue,” as he is called, is an awkward character; and insist on the authoritarian megalomania of the leader (recently demonstrated on TV shows like Ballaro and Piazza Pulita). Yet, at the end of the day, they cannot hide the political failure of this legislature, which is really the main reason for the success of Grillo’s Cinque Stelle (Five Stars) movement.

The next few months will be crucial, especially if elections are not held before April. Undoubtedly, if the electoral success achieved in Sicily by the Grillini (Grillo party members) repeats itself nationally with the same percentages, the new parliament will have a good chance of not being manageable—unless a grand right-left coalition emerges. However as of right now this is not an option for anyone, and even if it turns out to be, such an alliance would be burdened by an unsustainable defensive attitude from day one.

In all honesty, after having missed every chance they had to renew themselves, political parties today find themselves vulnerable to anti-system attitudes. This makes predictions about the course and the outcome of “the battle” very difficult, as does Grillo’s great maneuvering ability. If he is a populist leader—and he definitely is one—one must admit that he has remarkable cunning. Not only did he make everyone believe he had built an alliance with Antonio Di Pietro while in fact he was rendering him obsolete, but also—and this is what counts most—he understood the importance of the struggle for the presidency of the Republic in order to better determine the balance of power in the next legislature—in other words, who counts and who doesn’t.

Nobody thinks of Di Pietro’s candidacy for president as a serious matter, but the move was useful to signal everyone that Grillo wants to be ahead of the game. In particular, he wants to be part of the game with the firm intention of preventing Parliament from producing a “large majority” (like the one currently backing the Monti government) able to designate the successor of sitting president Giorgio Napolitano.

After all, the first one who moved to hinder the formation of a triangle formed by Pier Luigi Bersani (center left),  Alfano (center-right) and Pier Ferdinando Casini (center) has been leftist Nicky Vendola, president of the Apulia region, by proposing former prime minister Romano Prodi for president. Now Grillo is moving to prevent being “left” behind. He is confident of the fact that in Parliament, after the vote, Nichi Vendola will be the left rib of the center-left, while he, the ex-comedian, could be the main representative of the protest movement, able as such to set and dictate the rules of the game.