Crisis below us and crisis above us. Italy: “institutional collision”.
To the south of us, states and societies are experiencing a season of severe turbulence. Informed observers are not surprised. Nobody, however, expected the eruption of popular discontent we saw in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. Meanwhile, to our north, Italy is undergoing an unprecedented political crisis that sees state institutions set on a collision course. A crisis the consequences of which are difficult to predict. Of course Italy’s democratic foundations are built on the historical experience and the values of the anti-Fascist Resistenza. This distinguishes Italy it from the North African societies that are now struggling for the development of democratic institutions. Theirs is a struggle that has admittedly taken the US and the EU – both of which are more concerned with regional stability than the human and civil rights of the peoples of the region’s southern shores – by surprise. Nevertheless Italy’s present crisis is no joke indeed.
Italian head of state Giorgio Napolitano, in an interview to Rome’s Il Messaggero, confirmed his concern about the “scontro istituzionale” (institutional collision) in Italy. In an obvious reference to prime minister Berlusconi’s refusal to accept the juridical competence of Milan’s judges to summon him, the President remarked that the fact that the danger of such a collision is increasingly being recognised, is a step forward if it leads to an effort to tone down (“abbassare i toni“) the exchange of accusations between the various stakeholders. Regarding the polemic concerning the Head of State’s powers, Napolitano said he was following closely the various opinions expressed in this debate, without however himself expressing his views on the subject.