Crisis below us and crisis above us. Italy: “institutional collision”.

Posted in 1 by Editor on February 7, 2011

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.







2 Responses

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  1. Laura Metelli Xuereb said, on February 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Mubarak is a wise man, thus spake Berlusconi from on high. Surprised?

  2. Monalisa said, on February 8, 2011 at 7:44 am

    And not only… while bad weather and natural disasters hit across the globe, we seem to escape a lot of the hell which others go through. This undoubtedly contributes to a false sense of feel-good. A friend of mine is settling in Malta from USA precisely for the fact that our islands are ‘never in the news’. It is to the credit of the Maltese and their pride in the relative calm and safety of life on our rock that this is so, as well as for other , more sinister vested interests. It’s all relative and a matter of strategy of course. Libya hasn’t erupted either in spite of the presence of a long-term dictator, who has been smart enough not to trigger an uprising by ensuring that there is no blatant economic hardship.
    As for our own laid-back attitude in Malta, we may have transparent elections but we are living a soft dictatorship when elections are won with hairline majorities and only through sheer manipulation of the public via an intricate system of political patronage. We have a government nearing a quarter of a century in absolute power,with every chance of winning another term or more through having perfected the art of using the public coffers and undisclosed donations from businesses, plus the thousands whose lifestyle and priveleges minor or grand derive directly form the government fountain. People in Malta mumble about the erosion of democaracy and the marginalisation of half the populaltion yet most carry on because in the course of twenty-five years they can’t afford not to, having become increasingly beholden to the administration for everything from getting a job to getting a place for one’s grandmother in a state Home, planning permission or even a a simple driving license.They have become blase about the fact that money has to cross hands if they want to skip the queue for simple citizen rights like these. Things heat up sometimes when some huge new corruption scandal erupts, or when the high-handedness of the megalomaniac chief becomes too much. Yes, the Maltese, like the Libyans, are a placid lot. In Malta people are caught too deeply in the web of a twenty-five year old soft dictatorship to do more than raise their eyebrows and risk exposing the worms which the system has forced them to nurture under their own personal stones.

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