Italy poised for new elections?
The Italian Constitutional Court has overturned certain aspects of last year's reforms to the electoral law but presented a revised version that is valid with immediate effect. This leaves President Mattarella with the choice of either calling new elections this year in view of the government crisis or waiting until the current legislature period ends in 2018. Italy's press explains what factors are likely to affect his decision.
In an impasse
Should Italy hold new elections or let the legislative period run its course until the end of 2018? The country needs to make its choice, La Repubblica believes:
“Italy stands paralysed at a crossroads: it can take the path [ex-prime minister] Renzi wants and hold early elections. But if it does the country could become ungovernable. Because with the Legalicum [the current electoral law] no one can win. None of the parties will be able to attain the 40 percent [stipulated by the constitutional judges for an automatic parliamentary majority]. … Or it can take the path President Mattarella wants it to take and let the legislative period continue to its end. … But in that case, with the current precarious balance of political power, Italy faces the prospect of coming to a complete standstill. No matter how good his intentions, what can [Prime Minister] Gentiloni do with the sword of Damocles of the bank crisis and [the deficit negotiations with] Brussels hanging over him?”
The battle lines have been drawn
An analysis of who wants new elections and who fears them is provided by La Stampa:
“[The social democratic ex-prime minister] Renzi, [Movimento Cinque Stelle leader] Grillo, [Lega Nord leader] Salvini and Giorgia Meloni [of the right-wing populist Fratelli d'Italia party] all want early elections. … Behind the front that doesn't want the elections to be held until 2018 are those that some would still describe as 'strong forces': part of the Vatican, the representatives of other important European countries, Italy's central bank Bankitalia, the heads of the Italian financial institutes, the observers of foreign commercial banks and the industries confederation Confindustria. This group is plagued by the fear that Italy will fall behind, even though it has carried out important reforms in recent years.”