Poor Matteo Renzi is in deep trouble over his plans for constitutional reform, which look set to be thrown out in the forthcoming referendum.
Matteo Renzi was appointed in February 2014 after indirectly ousting the previous post-holder Enrico Letta. Some people and circles believe this was an EU-backed appointment to install someone in Italy more favourable to the EU’s neo-liberal and capitalist policies.
He had already become known as a reformer from his time as the Mayor of Florence, where he halved the number of city councillors, installed 500 free WiFi access points across the city, reduced kindergarten waiting lists by 90%, and increased spending on social welfare programs and schools. His platform as prime minister was that Italy urgently needed “a new phase” and “radical programme” to push through badly-needed reforms.
Renzi has staked his reputation on this reform, which aims to speed up the process of law-making. The plans reduce the power of the Senate – our equivalent of the House of Lords – and make it more representative of the regions, which would seem sensible. However, the plans also including reducing or removing powers from the 150 or so local ‘assemblies’ or mayoral districts, which is something the people do not agree with. And why would they?
Since the plans were announced, the ‘No’ vote has been in the lead and gaining ground. Renzi has said he will resign if the vote doesn’t go his way. Beppe Grillo (Five Star) and Matteo Salvini (Northern League), are both nationalist and anti-EU parties who could form a right-wing coalition government. Salvini is utterly anti- the Euro and wants to see Italy break free so it can decide its own financial / fiscal policy.
Italians will goes to the polls on Sunday, December 4. This could get interesting. If Renzi goes, and Grillo and Salvini can agree a way forward after an election, it’s a huge extra nail in the coffin for the EU. If they pull Italy out of the euro, even more so.
And Brexit will be made so much easier.