Chronicle of a Crisis Postponed: Italy After the Referendum

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 1380 .... March 9, 2017

Chronicle of a Crisis Postponed:
Italy After the Referendum

Ingo Schmidt

Matteo Renzi assumed the role of Italian Prime Minister on February 22, 2014 as the self-proclaimed rottamatore -- the ‘demolition man’ of an inefficient system. After successfully passing a series of laws by means of this very system that lowered social standards, he failed in the attempt at a constitutional amendment that would have accelerated future measures designed to further degrade social standards. In a referendum held on December 5, 2016 a clear majority of 59 per cent rejected the proposed changes. Renzi held on to pass the 2017 budget through parliament but then resigned on December 7. Since then, ex-foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni has taken charge of government affairs.

New elections demanded... by the opposition after the failure of Renzi's constitutional reform are not in the cards for now. There is also no more talk about an imminent collapse of the Italian banking system and a resulting flare up of the euro crisis. In the weeks prior to the referendum media warnings came fast and thick that failure to approve the constitutional amendments would lead to a severe economic crisis. At the same time interest rates and capital flight increased drastically.

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