See? I told you watching Italy would be fun!
But just in case you haven't been watching, there's been another hiccup in the process of forming a new coalition government in Italy. And this one may mean that Italians will be headed for another election. And as one might imagine, my "inbox" was deluged with articles about this story, but here's two takes of the recent shenanigans:
As you'll recall, just this last week I blogged about Italy, and the selection of Mr. Conte, a Florentine lawyer, to lead the new coalition government. Behind this move, I suspect - and still suspect - a great deal of politicking was taking place between "old Italian money" and the new technocrats of the EU, the European Central Bank, and, of course, various German interests from Deutsche Bank to Mad Madam Merkel. According to the first article, we read this by way of some confirmation of that speculation:
"Giuseppe Conte has given up the mandate to form a government, given to him on May 23," an official from the presidential palace said.
Initial reports suggest right-wing League party leader Matteo Salvini had refused to accept a presidential veto on his choice for economy minister, the 81-year-old euroskeptic economist Paolo Savona.
Talking to reporters after he informed President Sergio Mattarella of his decision, Conte said he "gave the maximum effort, attention, to carry out this task with the full collaboration" of would-be coalition partners — the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and far-right League.
Earlier in the day, Conte met Mattarella with his list of ministers in a bid to end the country's political stalemate. But the two could not agree on Savona's role in what would have been Western Europe's first populist government. Mattarella is staunchly pro-Europe.
Even before the two had finished with their meeting, League's Salvini said the only option now was to hold another election, probably later this year.
"In a democracy, if we are still in democracy, there's only one thing to do, let the Italians have their say," Salvini told his supporters in central Italy. (Emphasis added)
So in other words, the message from the EU via Mattarella was "We'll let you have a government, but it will have to agree with us," and the response was "Then what was the point?"
The interpretation of Zero Hedge is similar to mine, but much more elegantly stated:
In what may have been the worst possible outcome of this weekend's events in Italy, Rome finds itself on the verge of a Europe-sponsored constitutional crisis.
Recall that when we previewing the possible outcomes of Italy's government stalemate, in which president Mattarella had threatened to veto the choice of Paolo Savona as economy minister due to his anti-Euro/establishment sentiment, we said that the most likely - and market friendly - outcome, was for President Mattarella to give in to public pressure and the threat of a new election, averting a potential constitutional crisis. We also said that the second most likely outcome, and potentially far worse for markets, was that "if Mattarella and the coalition partners hold firm, we may be set for new elections, with M5S likely to repeat April’s success and Lega likely to increase its share of the votes, eating up Berlusconi’s party."
Moments ago that's precisely what happened, when Italy's premier designate, Giuseppe Conte, 53, told reporters after meeting the head of state Sunday evening that he had handed back his mandate for forming “the government of change" to president Mattarella. "I can assure you that I did my utmost to try to fulfill this task" he added.
As we reported earlier, Mattarella, who is supposed to be impartial but appears to have been anything but in this case, and was tasked with naming the premier and ministers, earlier rejected the candidacy of economist Paolo Savona, 81, who has repeatedly urged the Italian government to plan for a euro-exit, and who has criticized what he says is German dominance over Europe.
In other words, Mattarella sided with Europe over Italy's own choice.
There is still some hope for clarity and the avoidance of a constitutional crisis...
- *ITALY'S MATTARELLA SAYS WILL TAKE A DECISION SOON ON NEXT STEP
... Which means the president will now wait for his marching orders straight from Brussels before deciding what to do next. Meanwhile, the Italian people can't be delighted that their own president has hijacked the political process to the benefit of Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker.
So, while we wait to see who will get to occupy the Quirinal, or if there will be other elections, the behind the scenes games will continue. The EU clearly isn't listening, and isn't going to. But that's not the real question.
The real question is, who is watching those games? Clearly, a significant segment of the Italian population is fed up with low employment, the diktats from Brussels a.k.a. Berlin, and fed up with the EU-Mr. Globaloney immigration agenda. Recall also from a few years ago in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, that Italian businessmen were also chafing under Washington's sanctions regime, to the extent that the then Italian agriculture minister went to Moscow to see what could be done. The discontent even grew in Italy to the extent that in Venezia there was talk of secession.
So who else in Europe has a large economy, is a technologically sophisticated country, is suffering from unemployment numbers - especially among the youth - that boggle the imagination, has suffered its own immigration crisis, and is also overstuffed with EU technocrats and Globaloney, to the extent it has see its own secession movement, and even sponsored votes on secession of one of its major and most prosperous provinces? Who is watching Italy very closely?
When one throws Greece into this volatile mix, its almost as if we're watching a more covert agenda playing out, namely, to stamp out any cultural connection to the great Roman, and Orthodox, Catholic traditions that are so much at the heart of southern and eastern European culture, and "convert" those countries to the technocratic straight jacket and cultural hell that the Eurocrat "progressives" seem to want to impose everywhere on the continent. There is, I suspect, yet another very hidden and covert agenda behind these moves, and those involve the drug trade, which I suspect is strongly tied to the immigration agenda.
Whatever one makes of those high octane speculations, I think one thing is certainly in the cards for the future in Europe, and that is simply these movements will not go away. In fact, what I suspect the recent Italian elections - and any future ones - will mean for the future is that these movements will now begin to coordinate their efforts at the "European" level in addition to the national level of their various nations. We already saw hints of this prior to the French and German elections, when Ms Le Pen of France, Mr. Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, and various leaders of the Alternativ fur Deutschland party shared the stage at various conferences. In other words, expect to see the Italians becoming involved in those efforts in a major way, and not far behind them, will be the Spanish.
And the more the Brusselscrats and Merkeltards refuse to listen or compromise, the more those movements will grow. Very soon, I suspect, it will not be just Nigel Farage or Marine le Pen challenging the Eurocrats in the European "Parliament", but some new voices from Italy and Spain as well.
See you on the flip side...