Italy on course for early elections?

Early elections in Italy in the autumn seem increasingly likely after all the major parties agreed to a change to the electoral law that the president had stipulated as a prerequisite for an early vote. The news caused shares on the Milan stock exchange to tumble. Observers see this as proof of fears that Italy could face an unclear political situation or that the populist Movimento Cinque Stelle could emerge as the strongest party. Commentators aren't too keen on the idea of another vote either.

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Avvenire (IT) /

Problematic timing

The time for new elections must be carefully chosen, Avvenire warns:

“One condition must first be fulfilled: that the political class assumes responsibility and doesn't lose sight of the economic and social situation. But the danger of the latter happening is great, and in that case the budget would for the most part be drawn up in Brussels. Forget tax cuts! The tax burden would increase by at least 15 billion euros via an automatic raise in VAT, which would have a negative impact on consumption. The second problem is the banking system. It's not just about saving two banks but about preventing distrust from taking hold of the entire banking system and country. The speculator vultures who have their sights set on risk premiums are already circling and waiting for the country to take a wrong step.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Ruling party wants to shirk responsibility

Corriere della Sera explains why the ex-prime minister and leader of the social democratic Partito Democratico (PD) wants to hold early elections:

“The PD in particular wants to end a political phase without having to pay the price for a massive budget manoeuvre. Its call for elections is thus a way of escaping responsibility: it doesn't want to have to explain to voters why, after several years of supposed recovery, the public coffers are empty. … But it will have a hard time persuading the public that it's time to head to the polls. And we must wait and see what price the country will end up paying. Because after new elections Italy would be left with an even weaker parliament than the one it has now, while at the same time becoming a target for the financial markets and speculators.”