Open Europe Blog

One-by-one, Beppe Grillo and the Five-Star Movement are shutting all the doors to possible government arrangements. Vito Crimi, designated as the Movement’s faction leader in the Italian Senate, told reporters yesterday:

If we were proposed a technocratic government, we would consider it. But we confirm our ‘No’ to a government of the [political] parties.

Less than 24 hours later, though, Crimi posted the following on his Facebook page (yes, that’s how the Five-Star Movement communicates):

I never spoke of support to a technocratic government. The only solution we propose is a Five-Star Movement-led government which implements the first 20 points of our programme immediately.

Grillo himself wrote on his blog this morning,

The Five-Star Movement won’t support a technocratic government, and it never said it would do so. There’s no such thing as technocratic governments in nature, but only political governments backed by parliamentary majorities. [Mario] Monti’s government was the most political of the post-war period.

These remarks overlapped with those made by Stefano Fassina (see picture), the economic spokesman of Pier Luigi Bersani’s Democratic Party, who told Canale 5 this morning,

I exclude a technocratic government based on an agenda which has been rejected by [Italian] voters…We’re not willing to form a government with [Silvio Berlusconi’s] PdL party, and if Grillo is not willing to back the [next] government, we will have to face a new round of elections, even if this is not what is needed now.

So the possibility of re-run elections has been explicitly mentioned again, as several options for compromise are being struck down. However, reports in the Italian press suggest that President Giorgio Napolitano could still have an ace up his sleeve: Italy’s outgoing Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri.

According to Il Corriere della Sera, Napolitano could ask her to form the new government if Bersani failed to do so. Cancellieri would lead a ‘government of purpose’ – meaning that she would focus on a limited number of urgent reforms, and would seek the parties’ backing in parliament on a case-by-case basis. Grillo would probably not change his mind, but Cancellieri could win support from Bersani’s and Berlusconi’s parties. The rumours are echoed by Italian magazine L’Espresso, which features a biography of Italy’s “Iron Grandma” (Cancellieri is 68 years old) on its website.

This solution could be seen by some as more desirable than new elections in the next couple of months. Whether such a government will be able to continue with the reforms Italy needs to re-gain competitiveness within the eurozone is a completely different story.

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