A complicate puzzle for Mario Draghi

At its root, the political question is how Italy can emerge from a long phase of economic stagnation and growing inequalities, which requires profound transformations that affect the consolidated social order.

The government crisis in Italy is at present in the hands of a personality like Mario Draghi, who has acquired undisputed international prestige as president of the ECB. But for the solution of the crisis, he, as designated president, will have to solve a big puzzle: because the other protagonist of the crisis, President Mattarella who entrusted him with this arduous task has also anchored him to a pattern that appears completely unusual: that of training " a government that should not identify itself with any political formula ”. An address that is based on the postulate that neither a right nor a left majority is possible in Parliament while the country cannot afford voting during the pandemic.

Most of the commentators, in a media system that for the great majority is controlled by economic powers that have loudly pushed for the end of the Conte government and the call of Draghi, gave a very banal interpretation of the mandate: the government will have to be supported by both right and left. But the concrete translation of this formula is: “supported by those formations, located both on the left and on the right, which aim to find a compromise”.

Now, if the memory goes to the past history, both of Draghi and of Mattarella, we would have some reason to worry.

In the story of Mario Draghi there is a precedent: he was the author of the letter to the Italian government that in the summer of 2011 paved the way for the Monti government, according to the philosophy that he himself later defined as "automatic pilot", considered universally as the most appropriate label for the "blood and tears" line that the European institutions and the IMF have imposed on European countries classified as "PIGS": a line that has aggravated the socio-economic conditions of the countries that have actually adopted, starting from Greece but the balance is not a little negative for Italy. A line that Draghi himself a year later contradicted with the “whatever it takes” that made him famous and that today the EU, with the launch of the ERRP, has at least suspended. The question is which of the two precedents he will decide to conform to.

As for Mattarella, he found himself in the same situation three years ago, immediately after last elections in Italy, when his first attempt to form the government - by bringing together the Cinquestelle who had won the elections and the Democratic Party who had been the second - was blocked by the secretary of PD Renzi. Also in those circumstances he chose to rely on an official from international institutions, less known than Draghi is today (Carlo Cottarelli, from the IMF) but the attempt failed because not even one of the parties in Parliament said they were willing to vote for him.

Hence the decision of Salvini's Lega (pushed to this by Renzi's PD) to agree to govern with the Cinquestelle, giving life to a hybrid that went on for a year thanks to the unsuspected mediation skills of Giuseppe Conte, a professor of law who until then had not had any political role.

 Now Draghi should get rid of the past as an advocate of “autopilot” also not to repeat the experience of his predecessor Cottarelli. But by doing so he would give enormous displeasure to his supporters to whom he owes the call: on the one hand, the capitalist-publishers, on the other the only two political leaders who immediately acclaimed Mattarella and his idea of ​​a government "neither right nor left ”: Matteo Renzi and Silvio Berlusconi, who, incidentally, do not collect, together, more than 7-8% of the votes (although in this Parliament they may arrive at 15%).

At the root - this is the political substance of the question - is the fact that Italy must emerge from a long phase of economic stagnation and increasing inequalities, which requires profound changes that affect the consolidated social order.

Changes in the destination of public spending; in the functioning of central and decentralized administration, especially in the field of justice; in labour policies and employment relationships; in the distribution of income and in fiscal policy; in environmental, territorial and public works policies; in gender policies; in family policies and social policies in general; in education, from childhood to university, and in research. Finally, in the Public Health System, which until the end of the last century had been an example of excellence, leading to one of the highest life expectancies in the world, while in the last twenty years it has been subjected to spending cuts with a reduction of personnel and equipment leading to a slow but inexorable increase in mortality, up to the dramatic numbers, among the highest in the world, that we are seeing in the latest pandemic.

The last Conte government, with many contradictions and uncertainties, had adopted some measures that seemed to indicate a first, timid, change in political course. The widespread feeling is that Draghi's arrival was mainly desired by sectors of Italian society that have everything to gain from leaving things as they were in the past and do not want to miss the opportunity of the EU-RRP to resume the usual trend.  In this situation, there is no compromise that can hold together an acceleration in the processes of change with a return to the past.

A complicated plot that the great majority of the Italian people would like to see resolved but are waiting to understand how the hell it will be possible. Super Mario will have to choose: first of all, whether to choose or not.

Giovanni Principe
Insight - Free thinking for global social progress

Free thinking for global social progress