Fall of Italian government - Ex PM Berlusconi part 2

Over the weekend I read ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi may have brought down the Italian government. It seems Prime Minister (PM) Mario Monti will try to pass a budget and financial stability law before announcing his resignation after Mr Berlusconi's PDL party withdrew its support for the government. PM Monti governs a non-elected government of technocrats after the fall of the previous government, headed by then PM Berlusconi. PM Monti's government tried to revert the downfall of Italy and as a consequence of Europe and the world.

As I predicted earlier, it seems ex-PM Berlusconi plans to lead his party during the elections (although a few month ago he said he would not) because he claims PM Monti made the country worse off by following policies which benefited Berlin. However, in October Mr Berlusconi was convicted for tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison although that was later reduced to one year; in addition he faces other trials. Although he appealed against the court decision and thus the sentence is suspended, the best escape would be to be elected.
Maybe Italy could reduce its deficit by selling some of its art. It would allow others to see in their own country the great Italian art and thus increase interest in Italy while reduce the vast amount of art Italy has difficulties to maintain.

I am not a fan of Mr Berlusconi, but I think we should not fear him during elections. As we could expect, it seems Mr Berlusconi will fight the election campaign on an anti-austerity platform, telling the people he can ease their economic pain, cut their taxes and create jobs (he certainly knows how to cut his own taxes).

His opponents should tell the public what he did in the past although in a polite way (he brought large debts upon the country while enriching himself). They should also explain what they would do when in power and they should be honest (i.e. they should not promise things they know they can't deliver although they should think about the poorest in society, about those loosing their job during this crisis). Then people can choose.

But it is not sure yet whether Mr Monti will stand in the election although he declared he is willing to lead the next government if a majority in Parliament wants him. Others think he may run for president as the current President has to be replaced early next year. This I find more difficult. Indeed, I think one can head a government only ones as a non-elected person, but the next time people should be able to vote and decide whether the person is still wanted. Then the people can give authority to the people for whatever they told the electorate during the election period (that is why they should be honest). Then people are informed about the direction taken when one or another leader is elected and thus the people can choose their path.

Indeed, I think it is better that people are punished for their bad choice than that they have to accept decisions they don't want, made by someone they couldn't refuse because he/she was not elected. Because Mr Monti needs to make tough decisions to save Italy while he should remember power is not granted. What will people do if they do not agree with his decisions while they were not able to elect him? Indeed, they may revolt. While if people vote for stupidity (i.e. a leader who promises but doesn't deliver), then, in the worse case, the EU can always throw the country out of the union to save itself.

In general, I find the leader of a government should be elected (unless in exceptional circumstances that should be kept as short as possible). And as long as political parties are elected, it is only normal that one chooses ministers from the political parties that support the government to prevent getting enemies from within. But the members of the cabinet should be chosen by the PM and not by the parties. When maybe one day no or only very small parties remain (as I think may happen one day as I described in previous articles), the elected Head will be free to choose his ministers from Parliament as he/she likes. Bad leaders will choose bad ministers and during a next election they will not be re-elected while good leaders will choose correct ministers or appoint new ones when the first are not good.

Thus, I think Mr Monti should join the elections if he wants to lead his country again, either as an independent when he doesn't want to join a political party (I favour this as, if elected and allowed to become PM by the members of Parliament, he can then collaborate with all political parties and choose the best politicians without party restrictions) or as a member of a political party that can deliver the PM if he can form a majority in Parliament. During the elections, Mr Monti will be able to tell the people what he will do when re-elected. Mr Berlusconi and others can tell what they would do. Then the people can choose their direction and should not complain when they voted for the wrong person, as long as each candidate was honest (although it will be difficult to choose during these bad times). But I think if Mr Monti doesn't want to stand in an election, he should not return to the government as PM or minister. Because he should not fear defeat if he thinks that what he is doing is good for the country and explain to the people although there will always be the possibility he looses. And then democracy can survive or die (if the wrong person was chosen) with the approval of the people (although this is hard to write down: how can people on the margins of society support someone who tells them to receive even less?). If necessary, the EU can intervene by stopping support.

At this moment, it seems the centre-left alliance led by Pier Luigi Bersani will win the election. This alliance supports a continuation of Mr Monti's economic programme while it would reduce some of the pressure on the poorest members of society. On the other hand, Mr Berlusconi is far behind in the polls but has the advantage of being the boss of the most popular media stations and is thus able to influence the voters, probably by blaming the Germans although they try to help and promising things he can't deliver. And desperate people believe easily nice dreams.

In conclusion, I think Mr Monti should stand as a candidate during the next Italian elections if he wants to become PM again so he can explain his policies while the people can show their support or disapproval. Mr Berlusconi will promise much and it would be interesting to learn whether he can win the support from the voters. If Mr Monti doesn't stand, I think the chances for Mr Berlusconi's re-election may become bigger as the alternative, the left, is not very trusted anymore in Italy.


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