Sunday, March 3, 2013

Italian Elections as a Protest Vote

From Der Speigel:
He's called Beppe Grillo, he's 64 years old and he's the clear winner of the Italian parliamentary election. His "Five-Star Movement" emerged as the biggest single party in the lower house of parliament. The left- and right-wing party grandees -- Pier Luigi Bersani and Silvio Berlusconi -- only managed to muster more votes than him with the help of their respective allied parties. Grillo, who already brought thousands on to the streets in 2007 for his "Kiss My Ass Day," is the mouthpiece of Italy's disenchanted, angry voters. The numbers of these protests voters are growing dramatically.
Incompetent political leadership has been running down the country for years. The state education system is poor, as are the universities and the health system. Most of the state-owned enterprises are hopelessly inefficient. Antique World Heritage Sites like Pompeii are crumbling away. And all the while the members of the political class are enriching themselves and handing out jobs and overpriced contracts to their friends. Some dodgy deal or other is uncovered almost every day. Sometimes someone ends up in jail -- but the system doesn't change. Nothing will change, in fact, unless everything changes. That is Grillo's logic. And many Italians, especially younger ones, agree with him.

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