Italian Insanity

An internet-based and ideologically unorthodox party, with socially liberal, economically populist and tough law-and-order views, the Five Star Movement is led by the comedian Beppe Grillo. In recent months, the party has won mayoral elections in crucial cities like Rome and Turin and vigorously campaigned against Mr. Renzi’s overhaul. On Monday, they celebrated his resignation and acted as the de facto victors of the referendum.

Yet anointing the Five Star Movement as Italy’s next power overlooks the complexities of Italian politics. To overthrow Mr. Renzi, the Five Star Movement made common cause with other parties aligned with the Italian establishment, including lifelong officeholders and others such as former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as well as leftist leaders and recipients of public benefits and labor protections.

But now that Mr. Renzi is out of the way, those powerful interests of the left, right and center appear poised to return to business as usual, dividing power among themselves and probably shutting out the Five Star Movement, which refuses, per its party’s purity laws, to form political alliances.

“They think they won but they are actually the losers,” said Roberto D’Alimonte, a political scientist at Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome....
- Jason Horowitz, Italy Enters a Transition Phase, Complex but Familiar, as Its Premier Quits, NYT, Dec. 5, 2016

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