The government of Italy is on the verge of collapse, and that raises the possibility of the country having its third straight Prime Minister that wasn’t elected.
First it was Mario Monti, who came in to replace Silvio Berlusconi.
Monti performed disastrously in the 2013 elections, but no party was able to gather an outright majority. So together they agreed to place liberal Enrico Letta into power. Letta was not on the ballot or the party’s leader going into that election.
And now Letta’s coalition is crumbling, and the powers that be may place Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi in power.
It’s worth noting that this all began when Italy was having a borrowing crisis, and the ECB essentially engineered it so that Italy has to push Silvio Berlusconi aside in order to regain access to the market.
Italy is an extreme case, and the country famously goes through a lot of government. But strains of the same story are repeated elsewhere.
There’s a line that’s going around about how Europe never had a big debt default, but rather a democratic default. Alienation remains massive throughout the continent, and could manifest itself in a big way in May when elections for the European parliament take place, and populists are expected to have a strong showing everywhere. In Greece the government is wobbly, and polls continue to show the far left and the Neo-Nazis with a lot of support.
One European crisis is over; nobody thinks a government is in danger of default anymore, and the Eurozone probably won’t break up. But the economy remains horrible in many places, and as long as that goes on, the credibility of governments there will continue to erode.
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