by Sophia Clementi
For the past few weeks, one could barely follow the news without being bombarded with information about the impending Italian general elections on February 24th and 25th . Everyone was speculating as to the outcome and hypothesizing about the likely effects on Italy’s political stability, Italian bond yields, the international stock markets, and the Eurozone. These were being called the most important elections in Italy’s democratic history.
As an Italian citizen living abroad, I cast my vote early through a mail-in ballot. When I went to bed on February 24 th , the Italian news were showing that the coalition of center left parties led by the Partito Democratico was leading in the polls, and would, as expected, win a relative majority in both of Italy’s chambers of legislature. When I woke up the 25th , the outcome was anything but expected. The Partito Democratico had only gained a majority in the lower house , the 5-Star Movement (a revolutionary and populist party formed only four years ago by a prominent Italian comedian) received more votes than any other single party, and the coalition of center right parties supporting the infamous Silvio Berlusconi to become Prime Minister again gained nearly as many seats as the Partico Democratico in the Senate. Because of this split vote, no clear government could arise. In essence, Italy is currently ungovernable. The election was clearer evidence than ever: Italy is in crisis.
At this pivotal time, eleven Yalies have travelled to Italy to participate in the Italian Undergraduate Society at Yale’s research trip (www.iusytrip.com). Organized by Stefano Malfitano and Sophia Clementi, this ten-day trip will take us to Milan and Rome to meet with some of the most influential Italian politicians, business leaders, and professors. Our contacts include former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, Vice President of the European Commission Franco Frattini, and board member of the executive board of the European Central Bank Lorenzo Bini Smaghi. Through our numerous interviews we hope to gain unprecedented insight into the future of Italian politics and economics.
This blog will allow you to join us on our adventure through the complex landscape of Italy and Europe’s future. Through at least daily blog posts, we will be sharing our insights from our meetings, but also our observations from experiencing life in a country in limbo. We hope you follow our blog and we would love to answer any comments or questions if you email us at Stefano.firstname.lastname@example.org and Sophia.email@example.com.