Matteo Renzi’s chances of recapturing the Italian prime minister’s office this year may be slipping away. His push for early elections has triggered so much dissent within his own party that he may have to wait until next year for a comeback attempt. The ex-premier’s Democratic Party, the biggest force in parliament, holds a meeting of its leaders in Rome on Monday. They’ll decide whether to seek national elections this year, or wait until a vote scheduled for early 2018. Should Renzi prevail on Monday, there is the prospect of yet another European election alongside Germany, France and the Netherlands this year. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which wants a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro area, is keen to exploit its standing in opinion polls that show it neck and neck with the Democratic Party.
Articles about voting issues in the Italian Republic.
Italy’s constitutional court on Wednesday threw out aspects of an electoral law approved by former prime minister Matteo Renzi but presented a reworked version that can be used immediately, raising the chance of early elections this year. Italy’s largest parties – Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement – are both calling for a vote by the summer, about a year ahead of schedule. The system laid out by the court, which only applies to the lower house Chamber of Deputies, is based on proportional representation and hands a clear parliamentary majority to any party winning 40 percent of the vote.
After prime minister Matteo Renzi’s crushing defeat in last weekend’s constitutional referendum, Italy has been thrown into political crisis. President Sergio Mattarella may appoint a caretaker government in the next few days. But a general election seems inevitable, as the only way to resolve the impasse in the longer term. The populist, anti-euro Five Star Movement led by the comedian Beppe Grillo is running neck and neck in the opinion polls with Mr Renzi’s Democratic party. Under an electoral law known as Italicum that came into force in July and under which the next general election is set to be held, Five Star could form a majority single-party government if it wins a certain share of votes. That prospect frightens Italy’s political establishment. Five Star aims to bring Italy out of the euro. Whatever one’s views on the single currency, such a development would be destabilising for Italy and the eurozone. Italy has chronically weak banks and an underperforming economy and a period of upheaval as it changed currency would make matters worse.
Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella wants parliament to draft a new electoral law before any ballot is held, a source close to the president said on Tuesday, a move likely to delay any vote after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns. Renzi said he would step down after losing a referendum on constitutional reform on Sunday, but Mattarella asked him to stay on until parliament passes the 2017 budget, a vote scheduled for Wednesday. The next parliamentary election is not scheduled until 2018 but on Tuesday there was growing consensus among party leaders for it to be held a year earlier. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the vote should be held in February. Senior members of Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the referendum defeat and the party’s future strategy.
Matteo Renzi was roundly defeated in a referendum to change Italy’s constitution, marking a major victory for anti-establishment and rightwing parties and plunging the eurozone’s third largest economy into political chaos. The prime minister conceded defeat in an emotional speech at his residence, Palazzo Chigi, and said he would submit his resignation to Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, on Monday afternoon. “My experience in government ends here … I did all I could to bring this to victory,” Renzi said. “If you fight for an idea, you cannot lose.” It was a not an unexpected defeat but it was nevertheless a humiliating one, with 59.1% of Italians voting against the proposed reforms, which would have made sweeping changes to Italy’s constitution and parliamentary system. Pointing to the high voter turnout – 65% of eligible voters cast ballots in the referendum – Renzi said the vote represented a “feast of democracy”.
When Italians vote on a much-awaited popular referendum on Sunday, they will also be deciding the fate of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government—and expressing the country’s appetite for change. The ballot is ostensibly over Mr. Renzi’s proposal to overhaul Italy’s legislature. But with his popularity waning and the economy stalled, it has become a make-or-break vote on the premier himself and his vision for a nimbler and faster-growing Italy. A loss would likely drive Mr. Renzi from office and usher in a period of instability amid growing support for a large populist party. Italy’s referendum kicks off a momentous electoral year in Europe, where populist parties are expected to do well. On the same day as the Italian vote, Austrians go to the polls to elect a new president, in a race that could install the country’s first right-wing populist head of state since World War II. Support for anti-establishment parties is surging in France and Germany, too, both of which have elections next year.
With Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, 2016 has already contributed its share of major political upsets. Yet another upset may be in the making. The upcoming Italian referendum on constitutional reform could possibly have disastrous consequences for Europe and the world. It may seem strange that a national constitutional referendum could have global consequences. The reason it may have larger implications has to do with the euro zone — the club of European Union members that share a common currency. As political scientists like Mark Blyth have noted, the euro zone is badly designed. Although it has a common currency, it does not have a central fiscal authority to make financial transfers across states to balance out shocks and assure shared economic growth and prosperity. This means that over the past eight years of economic crisis, it has destabilized European politics, driving a political wedge between poor southern European states and richer northern European states. This, together with the refugee crisis, has encouraged nationalist parties to mobilize against E.U. institutions across the continent and pro-integration mainstream parties to try to fight back. It also means that a shock in one country can possibly have broader reverberations for Europe and the world.
Campaigners for a ‘no‘ vote in Italy‘s December 4 Italian constitutional referendum said Tuesday they are ready to challenge the final result if votes cast by Italians living abroad prove to be decisive. The threat followed repeated media reports that postal voting procedures for more than 4 million Italians registered abroad are at high risk of being rigged. The Foreign Ministry has rejected those reports as speculation. “In voting for Italians abroad, the requirement for secrecy is not fulfilled, and if votes by Italians abroad were to be decisive […] and lead to a ‘yes‘ victory […] we could decide to appeal,” Alessandro Pace, the head of the Comitato per il No, said.
Italy: With Populists Poised to Quash Italian Referendum, Renzi Takes a Page From Trump’s Playbook | Foreign Policy
Despite a year of protest votes and howls against politics-as-usual worldwide, Italy’s leader is praying voters next month will stick with the establishment. On Dec. 4, a referendum will be put to voters on a constitutional reform proposal by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The plan itself is a dry, domestic issue, but the vote is seen by many as a proxy on Renzi’s mandate after more than two years of governing. Now emboldened by Donald Trump’s big upset in the U.S. presidential election, Italy’s anti-establishment parties are sharpening their knives in hopes that an opportunity to move in for the kill is nigh. “This is a general ‘Fuck off,’’’ Beppe Grillo, spokesman of Italy’s growing Five Star Movement, said after Trump won the election. Writing on his popular blog, the former comedian predicted his growing political party would be next to ride to power on a wave of popular discontent: “We are the barbarians! The real idiots, populists and demagogues are the journalists and the establishment intellectuals,” he crowed. “There are similarities between this American story and the Movement.”
Angry voters have swept anti-establishment candidates to power in Rome and Turin, dealing a severe blow to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s political standing — and highlighting his vulnerability as he moves forward with a plan to revise Italy’s Constitution. Mr. Renzi became prime minister two years ago pledging to change Italy’s sclerotic political system, but judging by the results from Sunday, voters have become tired of waiting. Channeling fury over corruption scandals and ineptitude, Virginia Raggi of the Five Star Movement, a party co-founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo, crushed her opponent from Mr. Renzi’s governing Democratic Party to become the first female mayor of Rome. “A new era begins with us,” Ms. Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer, told reporters early Monday, as polls showed her winning by a ratio of two to one. “I will work to bring legality and transparency.”