Giuseppe Conte And The Italian Transformism

The creation of this government has been so science fiction that even Doctor Frankenstein would not have succeeded in doing it.

Special Address by Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy” by World Economic Forum / Ciaran McCrickard is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If we want that everything stays the same, we must change everything

From September 5, Italy finally has a new government. Well, you may say that you have already seen somewhere that weird guy that will be Prime Minister, but this is another story. As a matter of fact, the creation of this executive has been so science fiction that even Doctor Frankenstein would not have succeeded in doing it. When Salvini self-expelled himself from the coalition with the Five Star Movement with the hunger for immediate new elections — where he would have probably won according to polls, nobody expected that the Movement would have allied with the reformist Democratic Party. The resulting amalgam makes many people perplexed about the nature of this political alliance, albeit the new Ministers’ curricula seem significantly better than their predecessors’, but it has been blessed by the European Union with a sharp decrease in the spread rate.

The problem is that the two government parties have been nemeses since 2013 with violent verbal attacks, especially from the Five Star Movement to the Democratic Party when it was at government in the last legislature. These attacks were quite frequent and reached a peak some weeks ago, when the Democratic Party was nicknamed the ‘Bibbiano Party’ by political leader Luigi di Maio, after the alleged illegal business of adoption where a charity intentionally separated children from their own families in order to exchange them illegally with other families for large amounts of money. This happened in Bibbiano, a small village in the region of Emilia Romagna whose Democratic mayor was under investigation for abuse of functions. Apparently then, the creation of this government seems intentional to try to postpone the elections that would probably be catastrophic for both those parties.

This is the second time that the Democratic Party is a part of a strange alliance. The first time was in 2013, when it allied with Forza Italia — Silvio Berlusconi’s party — after years of fierce reciprocal hate that divided the country, where everyone who was against il Cavaliere — attacking him for his moral and judicial controversies — were scornfully labelled Communists and seen as public enemy number one. This time it is so strange that it has never happened before that a Prime Minister was confirmed twice by two different coalitions, the first time was by the Northern League and the Five Star Movement, and the second time with the Democratic Party and again the Five Star Movement. Although in other countries these kinds of alliances with very diverse political views are more normal and are made under a shared sense of responsibility, in Italy it is still difficult to do the same. This is especially true given that the tone of public debates are often too vulgar and obscene in a country that often lives politics like football matches.

Words are important and thinking that now we can say “volemose bene” (a Roman vernacular expression meaning “let’s love each other”), removing the past like nothing happened is quite impossible, but maybe we are so used to transformism in this country that we do not pay attention anymore. As Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote in his masterpiece il Gattopardo, “If we want that everything stays the same, we must change everything.”

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