Italy’s Democrats Split, EU Victory for Macron, Doubts About Syria Strikes
Italy’s Democrats are split on whether to negotiate with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
At a party meeting on Tuesday, former ministers Dario Franceschini and Andrea Orlando argued for coalition talks.
The alternative, a Five Star government with the xenophobic (Northern) League, would make Italy look “like Hungary,” Franceschini said.
However, centrists loyal to the outgoing leader, Matteo Renzi, reject a deal.
Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio has said it is time to “bury the hatchet”. His talks with the League have not been going well. But the Five Stars still call for overturning Renzi’s signature labor reforms, which made it easier for firms to fire and hire workers. Read more
Republicans End Russia Probe, Italian Democrats Choose Opposition
Republicans in the House have wrapped up their Russia investigation and declared there was no collusion with the Donald Trump campaign.
Just like that.
I don’t suppose anyone was expecting House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes to release an unbiased report. He has been doing Trump’s bidding from the start. But to simply declare the investigation over, without Democratic consent, is particularly brazen.
This isn’t the first time Republicans have put party before country. When evidence of Russian meddling in the election emerged in late 2016, Senate leader Mitch McConnell warned President Barack Obama that he would consider it an act of partisan politics if his administration publicized the information.
When intelligence agencies finally did tell the public Russia was tampering with the election, on the same day (such a coincidence!) WikiLeaks published stolen emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta. Read more
Left-Right Coalition Would Be Best Outcome for Italy
There are two realistic outcomes to Italy’s election on Sunday: a right-wing government that includes the xenophobic Brothers of Italy and Northern League or a German-style grand coalition between Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the Democrats.
The second would be better for Italy and for Europe. To make that outcome more likely, Italians should vote for the center-left. Read more
Italy’s Renzi Has Failed on Two Counts
When Matteo Renzi won back control of Italy’s Democratic Party a year ago, I argued he had two challenges:
Uniting the left.
Convincing voters who are desperate for reform that he could still deliver.
Both left-wing opponents and supporters of the former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, are strengthening their ties ahead of parliamentary elections.
Dissidents from Renzi’s Democratic Party are due to join the far left in new party, led by Senate speaker Pietro Grasso.
Grasso has ruled out an alliance with the Democrats. He left the party in October.
The Progressive Camp, led by the former mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, is willing to do a deal with the Democrats provided they support a bill that would give citizenship to the children of immigrants who have spent at least five years in Italian schools. Read more
Italian Parties Draw Battle Lines Ahead of Election
Italian parties are drawing battle lines ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections:
Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi, who hopes to become prime minister for a second time, has ruled out another grand coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Polls suggest such a left-right pact may be the only alternative to a Euroskeptic government.
Small left-wing parties have ruled out an alliance with the Democrats. Senate speaker Pietro Grasso, who broke with Renzi in October, is planning to lead a new party, which could split the left-wing vote in favor of the right and the populist Five Star Movement.
Berlusconi is appealing a ban from public office, owing to a conviction for tax fraud, to the European Court of Human Rights, but it is unlikely to rule in time for him to stand for election.
The formerly separatist Northern League, which splits the right-wing vote with Berlusconi’s party, has said it would rather go into government with the Five Star Movement than Renzi.
The Five Stars have ruled out coalitions altogether. Read more
Italy’s Small Left Rejects Pact, Making Defeat More Likely
Italy’s smaller left-wing party has ruled out a pact with Matteo Renzi’s Democrats, making a populist or right-wing victory more likely in the upcoming election.
Pier Luigi Bersani, a former Democratic Party leader who now belongs to the dissident Democrats and Progressives, has rejected Renzi’s overtures as “theatrics”. Read more