Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A tie?

Italy went to the polls over the last two days, and I've spent too much time this morning watching the results trickle in. And the outcome? A tie. Berlusconi's "House of Freedoms" has narrowly held the Senate, but the left-wing Union coalition has the narrowest of leads in the Chamber of Deputies - 27000 votes from a turnout of 37.5 million. If this holds (and its likely to), then the top-up seats Berlusconi intended to benefit him will instead go to the Union. As for what this means for a government, I have no idea - but whichever way it goes, the government will be weak, and topple at the drop of a hat. Italy may be going back to the polls within a year.


My understanding is that if that holds, they'll be coming back to the polls now, because a government has to hold the confidence of both houses. It seems it's still possible the Senate could fall either way, though.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 02:07:00 PM

People on European Tribune are talking about the overseas Senate seats going strongly left, which will tip the balance. Though apparantly the seven "Senators for life" (former presidents and notables) could still ensure another election - though that's considered unlikely.

According to BBC, Prodi has claimed victory - but it will be a narrow one.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/11/2006 02:18:00 PM

I saw that BBC article earlier, which was a hopeful sign, but the Senate still seems uncertain: there are only six overseas seats, so the exact split is crucial. The way they're apportioned makes closer results more likely. And the life Senators could tip that too, although the consensus seems to be that's unlikely (quite a few of them are from the left coalition's parties, to start with).

No matter what, it doesn't look stable.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 03:15:00 PM

Sappho: It's Italy. They don't do stability.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/11/2006 03:35:00 PM


Berlusconi managed five years, though, even if it was essentially by cheating last time. And since.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 03:39:00 PM

When I commented to an Italian friend/colleague a few years ago that Berlusconi had at least brought some stability to Italian politics she sneered (quite prettily) and said it was all down to corruption. Berlusconi has manipulated the political process to save his hide, here's hoping it doesn't work. What the Italians need is a good old fashioned monarchy. The blessings of God on the Royal personage makes for a stable and peaceful government, just ask Bill W.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/11/2006 04:52:00 PM