The Missing Renewal of the Ruling Class

Authored by: Luca Verzichelli

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Italy

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415604178
eBook ISBN: 9781315709970
Adobe ISBN: 9781317487555

10.4324/9781315709970.ch9

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Abstract

As reported by all the international observers, the Italian general elections of February 2013 have brought about a situation of extreme political uncertainty. However, one can unquestionably argue that the political composition of the parliament in the XVIIth republican legislature exactly mirrors the different attitudes of the Italian public towards politics and political elites: the pyrrhic victory of the Democratic Party (PD) – actually a poor performance in comparison with the 2008 results – and, more generally, the centre-left coalition represent those Italians who desired a turning point from the era of Berlusconi, but still believed in a ‘party-democracy’ based on mass-party organizations ruled by established elites: the leaders of the PD and of its smaller allies had hoped that the effect of an important innovation such as the direct consultation of the voters in a primary election for the choice of the chief of the coalition could be a sufficient instrument to overcome the decline of trust in the traditional political actors. However, this message did not reach more than 30 per cent of valid votes (roughly one-fourth of potential voters) supporting the centre-left.

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