Sunday 24 February 2013

Italian politics is no joke!

I had to laugh last week after the results of the Italian elections.

Former television comedian Beppe Grillo won 26% of the vote as leader of the Five Star Movement and now holds the balance of power as no party won an overall majority.

Seeing as Grillo doesn't want to form a coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party which won the most votes, it looks like Italy will be having another election in the next few months.

It's easy to laugh but is Grillo anymore a comedian than Silvio Berlusconi? His behaviour has made Italy a laughing stock for years. Perhaps last week's results show just how serious Italians take their politics.

The results raise some important questions for Europe's leaders. A number of Italian voters have rejected the political mainstream and made it clear they don't support the austerity measures introduced by Prime Minister Mario Monti.

It's another example of the crisis in politics across much of Europe and in Britain, where people are losing faith and have no confidence in mainstream politicians.

Governments have racked up huge debts in borrowing over the last decade and now ordinary people are having to suffer through policies of austerity demanded by European Leaders in Brussels.

It's no wonder the likes of Grillo appeal to voters, when he attacks the corruption of Italy's political class and calls for an end to austerity.

You can argue that voting for mavericks and independents like Grillo are wasted votes but I don't see it that way.

I don't think Grillo wants to be in government and he's probably not qualified enough. But in voting for him, Italians are making their feelings known about how broken the country's political system really is.

You can't say their voices aren't being heard. Political leaders in Italy and Europe might not like it but it's called democracy.

Many Italians feel politicians in Italy are a joke so what better way to express that feeling than voting for a comedian.

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