Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another bloody nose for Berlusconi

Last month, Italian Prime Minister received a bloody nose from the Italian people, with the defeat of his candidate in regional elections in his home city of Milan. Today, he received another one, losing a series of abrogative referenda on his policies.

The media are focusing on the defeat of Berlusconi's plans to reintroduce nuclear power in Italy - but that wasn't the only question. He also lost on water privatisation, and (more significantly) on his attempts to pervert the legal system to insulate himself and his cronies from prosecution. The latter is extremely significant, and not just because it means Berlusconi and his Ministers will face trial on corruption charges. It also means that the Italian people have woken up, called bullshit and demanded higher standards from their government. Again, its a sign that Italy's democracy may not be as sick as it seems, and that there may be some hope after all.