There was a time when Italian elections were frequent and forgettable. Prime ministers were discarded like last season’s clothes. All of that has changed. What happens in Italy affects the rest of Europe. Campaigning ends on Friday. The result could rattle the eurozone and remind the markets of how little has been settled in the continent’s real economies. The favourite to win is an ex-Communist from the centre left, Pier Luigi Bersani. He is decidedly Mr Normal. There is nothing extravagant or flamboyant about him. There are no sharp suits. He likes the occasional cigar but he is almost an anti-candidate conducting a low-key conversation with Italy.
When I spoke to him in Naples he sounded a little like Francois Hollande. “I intend to convince Europe,” Mr Bersani told me, “that austerity alone is not enough.”
He does not believe that the current European policy – the Berlin-Brussels austerity strategy – is correct. He says it needs to be adjusted to push for investment and jobs.
He is committed to reducing the deficit and to continuing with reforms begun under current Prime Minister Mario Monti. He spoke about making the relationship between workers and companies more efficient – code for further freeing up the labour market.
There is no big plan, however, to address Italy’s main problem – little or no growth for the past decade.
Full Article: BBC News – Europe waits for Italy elections.