Italian’s constitutional referendum

Renzi’s failure and the rise of populism

In the future demise of Italy’s economy and social structure, the people of Italy see the need for change. Matteo Renzi’s call for a constitutional reform on the shift of power to the Italian government, as well as the Italian constitution overtly signal the dismay of Renzi’s democratic party for legislative change. The decision of rejecting the constitutional law, by an inadequate qualified majority of two-thirds of the parliament – hence a proposal bill was drafted to allow a constitutional referendum to be brought upon the people to make the decision for change.

The Parliament of Italy is a bicameral legislature: consisting of two upper and lower houses; Senate of the Italian Republic and the Chamber of Deputies. Constitutional law must be passed through the approval of these two houses, through an endless medium of navetta parlamentare that in same texts; executive power lies on the prime ministers and his cabinet of ministers which government must have the confidence of both houses in order to proceed with the executive order.

The bill for the constitutional referendum was passed by a two round system, which was approved by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies simultaneously, to be held on 4th December 2016.

The significant shift of legislative power in the Senate, of decreasing the number of seats of 315 to 95, was one of the key points of constitutional reform. From several regional constituencies holding autonomy of governance in public services and cultural riches, to a deflated legislative power in the parliament, Renzi’s centralised approach in state governance begs the question of the importance in regulation. In these two elements of authority and centralisation, the notion of pragmatic decisions to constitute economic reforms can only be applied through lesser numbers of legislative power and impended bureaucracy.

By increasing authority to a centralised government, the people who are in these regional constituencies may feel that their political priorities may be misrepresented; and only through these archaic bureaucracies that their preferences be represented.

Ever since his appointment as the Italian Prime Minister, his economic reforms have been lacklustre. Italy’s GDP increase of 2% was lower than euro-zone of 4%, and unemployment rate has been at a relative high percentage since. The confidence of his people has waned as economic hurdles was not fulfilled through his three and a half years of legislature: reforms were taken place, if future reforms were to be categorised in these half standards, what can be assured of Italy’s future?

The majority of the people of giving the go for the ‘no’ campaign at 59.11%, has their doubts on putting their faiths on a constitutional reform, bogged by preceding unsuccessful political reforms.

Leftist parties such as Five Star Movement (M5S), being one of the main protagonists in the populist movement, which is headed by Beppe Grillo. A charismatic and popular comedian, not shy of expressing his oratory skills in an overtly manner: he represents the unopposed faction of the public; the liberals and the conservatives.

Much can be related to Donald Trump; the populist wave in U.S., of which both do not have a clear ideology which constitute their campaign. The party is not aligned to any structural forms in the left and right spectrum, and for its purpose has a similar rhetoric when compared to other populist waves in the West: anti-establishment and anti-globalist.

This rhetoric of opposing the establishment and the rise of an expanding threat to globalisation and free trade indicates the fall of neo-liberalism and the need for economic intervention. The rising economic inequality is brought upon by the ‘invisible hand’, to a point where it has become stagnant. Despite the global confidence of the European currency, staying in the euro-zone and the vindication of marginalised economic reforms, recalls the reminiscence of the 2010-2013 economic downturn.

The elites have had their throw of the dice on the monumental risks that they had ride upon, and the people had endured enough. They are not competing against each other for the benefit of democracy; the rhetoric is different, they are joining forces in arms: the causal relation to the big bang of populist waves.


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