Italy. The political crisis escalated after the right-wing coalition of the Freedom Alliance leader, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and the Liberal Democratic Party’s (Partito Democratico della Sinistra, PDS) secretary general Massimo D’Alema failed in an attempt to avoid new elections in the first half of the year, when Italy Berlusconi’s coalition partner Gianfranco Fini, leader of the right-wing National Alliance (Alleanza Nazionale, AN), opposed the deal and demanded that Prime Minister Lamberto Dini either form a new government with parliamentary majority or resign and announce new elections. Expedition Minister Dini had already submitted his resignation application to President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro on January 11. The President dissolved Parliament on February 16 and announced new elections until April 21. When the electoral movement was launched in March 18, the main opponent was the Olive Tree Alliance (L’ulivo, consisting of the Left Democratic Party, Partito Democratico della Sinistra; Italian People’s Party, Partito Popolare Italiano; Green Federation, Federazione dei Verdi) and the Liberty Alliance (Polo Por la National Alliance, Alleanza Nazionale; and Heja Italy, Forza Italia). The election did not result in its own majority for either block, but certainly a great success for the Olive Tree Alliance, which conquered a total of 284 of the 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies against the Freedom Alliance’s 246. Lega Nord received 59 seats, the Left Party Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (RC) 35, while the remaining six deputies came from small parties. The newly elected Chamber of Deputies approved May 31 with 322 votes against 299 a new center-left government with Romano Prodi as prime minister. Lamberto Dini became Foreign Minister and Walter Veroni of the Left Democratic Party Vice Prime Minister. The new government counted on tactical support from the 35 members of Rifondazione Comunista, whose leader Fausto Bertinotte, however, contented with expressing his “conditional trust” for the Prodi government. In the government declaration, the new prime minister announced a minimum budget to keep the deficit at 5.8% of gross domestic product. He also promised to prioritize measures against unemployment and education and constitutional reform. The government’s first budget, presented on September 27, became the tightest in the country’s post-war history.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does IT stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Italy. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
On May 12, deputies from the Lega Nord party in the city of Mantua announced the appointment of a government for the “Independent Republic of Padania” in the north. At a demonstration for a free Padania in Turin on September 13, the protesters were attacked by leftists. A new demonstration was held the following day in Venice. Lega Nord leader Umberto Bossi urged his followers to burn state TV licenses and refuse to pay certain taxes. Bossi proclaimed the Independent Republic of Padania on September 15, but the manifestation did not get the connection he predicted – it stayed with 50,000 participants instead of a million. Counter-demonstrations by both left-wing supporters and right-wing extremists led by National Alliance leader Gianfranco Fini in Chioggia outside Venice were dispersed by police. Verona authorities on September 18 ordered a raid on Lega Nord’s premises in Milan to seek evidence of the organization’s constitutional activities. Three of the party’s parliamentarians, including former Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, were slightly injured when they attempted to barricade the premises.
At a meeting convened at the end of November, the EU finance ministers decided to exchange the Italian lira exchange rate at Lit 990 per D mark, and thus Italy rejoined the exchange rate cooperation ERM after four years of absence. Already on the same day, however, confidence in the lira dropped dramatically, after information emerged that prosecutors requested an examination of Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s possible involvement in the tours around state holding company Iri a few years earlier.
Three Italian trade unions announced a four-hour general strike on December 22 until December 13 for industry and transport workers. The unions demanded compensation in wage increases for inflation that has taken place since 1993. In September 1996, consumer prices rose by 0.3%, and thus I’s inflation rate fell to 3.4.
2013 Exit Berlusconi
On August 1, Berlusconi was sentenced to 4 years in prison for tax evasion. Thus, a long process began in Congress whether he should be thrown out. Ultimately, in September, Letta decided that the left-wing coalition should vote in order for Berlusconi to surrender his verdict and thus be excluded by parliament. Berlusconi’s threat was that he would then pull the blanket away under the government, and he did so on September 28 when his 5 ministers resigned. The government’s life now hung in a thin line, but on October 2, Letta won a vote of confidence as dozens of Berlusconi’s people voted against their chairman. To prevent his coalition from crumbling, Berlusconi changed his stance and declared that he too would support the government. However, his fierce struggle for his political life ended in December, when a majority voted to deprive him of his parliamentary immunity. The legislation is also such that a parliamentarian can only return 6 years after a verdict, so Berlusconi will be able to return at the earliest in 2019, but before then a very long series of lawsuits, which he has pushed for 15 years before him.
The consequence of Berlusconi’s exclusion was not the government’s collapse. Only Berlusconi’s own newly formed fascist party Forza Italia withdrew. Nearly 20 years of parliamentary circus with Berlusconi at the forefront was thus over. The air was clear, but the legacy of an Italy in partial economic ruin still existed.
Although Letta handled the challenge far right, he did not manage the challenge from the left, who was increasingly dissatisfied with the economic reform being carried out so slowly. In February 2014, he therefore resigned from the Prime Minister’s post and was replaced by Matteo Renzi.
Renzi’s government embarked on a comprehensive reform program that included both popular and unpopular elements for the ruling party’s voters. The government started selling 1500 luxury cars belonging to the state, including 9 Maseratis, 2 Jaguars and a wide range of BMWs and Alfa Romeos. In April, the government fired the directors of the big state corporations, replacing most with women. It was the first time women executives had been in the forefront of state-owned enterprises.
The electorate was pleased with the government’s reform program and rewarded it at the EU and municipal elections in May. In the EU elections, PD went up 14.7% to 40.8%. It gave 31 seats in the European Parliament. With DKK 11.2 million at the same time, the party became the largest in Europe at the election. Berlusconi’s block fell 18.5% to 16.8%. The municipal elections a few weeks later became an equal success. PD settled on 164 municipalities, while Berlusconi’s bloc had to settle for 41.
In August, a process was initiated to launch the major infrastructure projects in the country that had been suspended for economic reasons.
A less popular reform was the labor market reform adopted during the fall. It was a framework law that needed to be completed along the way, but an important element was the removal of the section on “illegal dismissal”. It triggered major demonstrations by the trade union movement during the autumn. In November, over 100,000 in Rome voted against the reform.
During the year, amendments were made to the Constitution, the most important element of which was a reduction of the Senate’s role. When the changes were finally passed in August, they implied that the Senate no longer participate in legislative work. The Senate will no longer have to pass laws, but will only have an advisory function to the Chamber of Deputies.
At the beginning of Renzi’s reign, a new electoral law was passed. The election law Berlusconi had introduced in 2005 had in 2013 been known unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. Renzi’s new election law ensured proportional representation – with an added bonus to the party that received more than 40% of the vote. The law was passed in April 2015 with the help of Berlusconi’s bloc after the left wing of the PD had criticized the law and refused to vote for it.
In March, the government set up an anti-corruption unit with Judge Rafaele Cantone as chairman. Corruption continued to be a huge problem in the country, so the new entity had enough to deal with.
The new government did away with the general European xenophobic attitude towards refugees. In the first 11 months of 2014, 155,000 refugees arrived in Italy by sea – across the Mediterranean. Many traveled to other European countries, but 44,000 sought asylum in Italy. The authorities therefore opened many new asylum centers and at the same time decided to reduce the maximum time for processing applications from 18 months to 3. Undocumented entry and residence in the country was decriminalized in April – although it was still an administrative offense. The many refugees created certain local tensions, but local episodes such as harassment or murder promptly led to prosecution and sentencing of the guilty, whether ordinary citizens or police officers.
In September, the government implemented a comprehensive labor market reform that weakened workers’ rights by to make it cheaper for the employer to fire them. The country’s largest trade union organization, CGIL conducted extensive demonstrations against the proposal and the ruling party’s left wing threatened to vote against, but the proposal was nonetheless adopted. Germany’s Angela Merkel praised the Italian government for the reform.
After 8½ years in office, President Napolitano resigned in January 2015. Sergio Mattarella was elected new president in February.
Throughout 2015, Italy pursued a foreign policy course that deviated somewhat from that of the EU. The country was against the harsh treatment the EU gave Greece, which was on the brink of collapse in 2015 and ended up in payment suspension in June. Ifht. Russia wanted the Italian government to impose EU sanctions on the country so that the EU, Russia and the United States could instead jointly confront IS in Syria and Iraq.
Despite the migration of Africa/Asia to Europe from the Central Mediterranean to the Eastern Mediterranean in 2015, 153,000 refugees still arrived in Italy during the year. At the same time, a dramatic increase in the death rate was recorded. 2,900 refugees and migrants died during the year while trying to cross the Mediterranean. Most during the first 4 months of the year. The main reason for the dramatic increase in the death rate was that Italy, for economic reasons, had to shut down its Mare Nostrum program, which monitored the sea area between Italy and North Africa and welcomed the many thousands of refugees. Instead, the EU’s Frontex Border Guard launched Operation Triton, which was heavily understaffed and underfunded.
In January 2016, Egyptian security police kidnapped and killed Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo. By the time he was found dead, 7 of his ribs had broken and there were traces of electrical torture of his genitals. The Egyptian authorities denied knowledge of the case, which quickly developed into a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. The Egyptian dictatorship exposes thousands of suspects to torture annually. (Exclusive: Egyptian police detained Italian student before his murder – sources, Reuters 21/4 2016).
In April 2016, former CIA agent Sabrina de Sousa lost for the third time an appeal for extradition to Italy. She had been arrested in Portugal in October 2015 on the basis of a European arrest warrant issued by the Italian authorities following her participation in the kidnapping of Abu Omar in Milan in 2003 and his subsequent extradition to torture in Egypt. All controlled by the CIA. (Forms CIA officer faces extradition to Italy over Abu Omar kidnapping, Guardian 25/4 2016).
Virginia Raggi of the populist Movimento 5 Stelle movement won the Mayor post in June 2016. In the first round of elections, she had gained 35.3% of the vote while her main Democratic Left candidate had gained 24.9%. In the second election, she got 67.2% of the vote against 32.8% for her opponent. The election had been postponed after the Democratic Left mayor of Rome in October 2015 had to resign because of an extensive economic scandal. The election was both a consequence of the scandal and the growing dissatisfaction among the electorate with the Democratic Left, but at the same time an indication that the M5S protest party was growing rapidly.
In December, the government conducted a referendum on a constitutional reform whose main focus was to reduce the power of the Senate, where the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies had until then had a symmetrical power. 59.1% voted against the proposal and 40.9% voted yes. Prime Minister Renzi had failed to create a broad parliamentary unit behind the changes, and the right wing therefore saw an opportunity to wield his power. Managed. A few days after the vote, Renzi resigned as prime minister. Instead, President Mattarella appointed former Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to form a new government.
The defeat then led to a split in Renzi’s own Partito Democratico (PD). In February 2017, the left broke out and formed the Social Democratic-oriented Articolo 1 – Movimento Democratico e Progressista (MDP). The MDP included 23 members of PD’s 306 in the Chamber of Deputies and 17 of Sinistra Italiana’s (SI) members.
One of the major challenges the Gentiloni government inherited was the large number of refugees and migrants who came to the country across the Mediterranean. One problem the EU did not contribute to solving. In 2016 alone, 181,000 migrants arrived in Italy across the central Mediterranean. Of these, 25,700 were children, most unaccompanied. This was more than a doubling compared to the previous year. Another 4,500 did not arrive but died at sea. In February 2017, the government signed agreements with Libya and Tunisia to curb the influx.
In December 2017, President Mattarella printed parliamentary elections for March 2018. As a prelude to the election, the Left around PCI and Rifondazione Comunista (PRC) formed an alliance under the name Potere al Popolo (Power of the People).
According to Countryaah.com, the population of Italy in 1996 was 57,174,297, ranking number 21 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.040% yearly, and the population density was 194.3782 people per km2.