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Italy

We must oppose this elected monarchy

Giorgio Napolitano was re-elected by parliamentarians and regional political representatives as Italian head of state Saturday, following a deal between the two main parties who have been ruling  the past twenty years. No Italian President – who has the power to dissolve parliament as well as broker the formation of governments but is largely a ceremonial role in normal times – has served two consecutive terms. The outcome will be more austerity and is a real attack against Italian democracy, argues Giorgio Cremaschi 

When a President in power for seven years has been re-elected for another seven, we are in a system more like the old Polish elective monarchy than the democracy outlined in our Constitution.

When this same President has in fact ruled for almost a year and a half through a Prime Minister a senator for life, that he appointed and which received the confidence vote of both houses of parliament under the unconstitutional pressure of the financial markets, we are in a system more similar to a presidential republic than a constitutional parliamentary republic.

When this President appoints a committee of wise men to prepare a programme that will likely be adopted by the new government, sponsored by the president and to which none of the forces that got the President re-elected will of course deny support, this looks like a presidential republic without even a vote of the people.

When all this is done within the framework of an agreement, among the parties that have taken turns to rule these past twenty years; and when this regime is an expression of sovereignty that is totally limited by the constitutionally binding balanced budget, the EU fiscal compact, the Troika and from all the neoliberal European treaties, which means most of the economic decisions are now automatic, as Mario Draghi himself has stated, all this has very little to do with a true democracy. The formal structures of democracy are probably safe, but not the substance.

And the fact that constitutional democracy in Italy is now a sham will be further proven in the future. In fact, when the next government, sponsored by the President, continues austerity policies, the opposition to it will inevitably and objectively be opposition to the President of the Republic.

On the other hand this is what the centre-left Democrats (PD) and Silvio Berlusconi’s PDL wanted. At an opportune time they decided once again to come together, as they did when they raised the pension age to 70, abrogated Article 18, weakening protections against lay-offs, and imposed the housing tax.

PD and PDL are now an integral part of the political and economic oligarchy of the country, an oligarchy that calls the shots when the moment is right.

We have now in a situation incompatible with the Republican Constitution, and we must take note. The next struggle against the policies of austerity and against social massacre will also be against President Giorgio Napolitano.

This is what the PD, PDL and the oligarchy wanted, and it is they who are responsible.

Micromega 20 April 2013

Translated / Edited by Revolting Europe

Check out the view of Communist Refoundation on the re-election of Giorgio Napolitano as President

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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