Quitaly Begins: Italy referendum: ‘People don’t trust establishment, want big changes’

The defeat of Italian Prime Minister Renzi’s in Sunday’s referendum on constitutional reform, though not a surprise in the way that Brexit and Donald Trump’s win in the US Presidential election, show that people are not happy with their government’s performance, don’t trust the elite and want more radical reforms, says Italian journalist, Marcello Foa. Renzi had been an ardent pro – European even though he is a vocal critic of the EU’s immigration and austerity policies, and has called for Italy to take back control of its own finances.

The reforms in Renzi’s proposals would have made it more difficult for the upper house in Italy’s national assembly to veto laws put forward by the administration, thus making it easier for pro – EU federalisation governments to impose changes to legislation demanded by the unelected bureaucrats of the EU’s ruling European Commission. 

On the defeat of his referendum proposal being announced, Renzi immediately resigned, saying his government’s position had become untenable. The defeat was by a substantial margin with about 60% of votes cast going to the NO campaign, led by satirist and comedian Beppe Grilo’s Five Star movement. At least the globalist propagandists of mainstream media cannot honestly describe Five Star as ‘extreme right wing’. While the movement may be opposed to uncontrolled mass immigration, further surrender of sovereign powers to EU bureaucrats in Brussels and continued membership of the single currency system (The Euro), the main points of their policy positions (the Five Stars) put them to the left of the UK Labour Party, France’s Socialists, Germany’s Social Democrats and the USA’s Obmacrats.


Beppe Grillo, 5 Star leader and Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome

As was the case with Brexit and Trump, Italy’s populist movement, which is made up of Five Star and the more conservative but equally anti – establishment Liga Nord, is hard to pigeonhole in the simplistic categories of left and right or conservative and liberal. In many ways, it is easier to define by what it is not rather than what it is. Italian populism sees itself as Euro-skeptic, anti-establishment (whether left or right) and anti-corruption.

When Beppe Grillo founded the Five Star Movement (M5S), the standard-bearer of Italian populism, was so-named because of the five causes it originally espoused: public water, improved transportation, sustainable development (not in the narrow sense of subsidised wind and solar energy, but sustainable agriculture and a less consumerist culture,) free internet access and environmentalism. These are hardly right-wing causes, but nor are they the agenda of the Italian centre – left political establishment which supports European federalism, globalism and an economic model based on infinite economic growth.

After M5S scored major victories last June, winning mayoral races in Rome and Turin as well as over a dozen other cities, it established itself as Italy’s most significant opposition force. Its rise in popularity has continued unabated ever since.

“The propaganda of the regime and all its lies are the first losers of this referendum,” said Beppe Grillo, “Times have changed.”

Virginia Raggi, Rome’s M5S mayor, called the referendum outcome a victory for democracy, tweeting that “our revolution will not stop, in Rome and in Italy.”

Renzi had to resign because the referendum, which most Italians saw as a chance to express their distate for Renzi and the European Union,  was his initiative. 
  
Italian journalist Anna MazzoneMazzone argues that the majority of Italians would prefer the government to focus on other things rather than amending the constitution. The country’s economy “is suffering” she said, and “almost three million Italians” live in poverty; addressing these problems should be a priority for authorities.

“The solution could be to focus on the problems, instead of other things like the constitution, for example. This government failed because it proposed a lot of reforms like the Jobs Act,” Mazzone told RT. The labor reform proposed by Renzi was known as the Jobs Act was “not effective” in sorting the problem of unemployment as “34 percent of young Italians still cannot find a job,” she added.

Another Italian journalist, Marcello Foa, argues that Matteo Renzi, who had been very popular at the beginning of his time in office, “was promising too much” but didn’t fulfill many of his promises.

“A large part of the population doesn’t trust him anymore,” he told Russia Today. Mainly the referendum was about people deciding between giving “this kind of prime minister” more powers or keeping unchanged “the constitution, which has been very reliable and affordable for many years,” he said.

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