Copyright: Matteo Renzi/Source: Flickr

Despite a huge defeat of Italian PM Matteo Renzi, Europe should not panic, explains Italian journalist and the EU expert, Grandesso Federico.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigned on Sunday night after the negative results of the constitutional referendum came out. Monday afternoon Renzi is set to meet his ministers and afterwards he is expected to give his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella.

In this scenario, it is likely that the Italian President Mattarella will try to find a new possible candidate for the PM position. My sources from the Italian government suggest the following names: the current president of the Senate Pietro Grasso, or the minister of the economy, Pier Carlo Padoan, who is very well known at the international level.

In any case, this is a huge personal defeat for Matteo Renzi, but it is not the definite end of his political career because he will still maintain the pivotal role of Secretary of the Democratic Party.

Renzi is still quite young and the people of Italy forget even large defeats relatively quickly, as we have seen in the cases of former PM Silvio Berlusconi or PM Romano Prodi.

Even after this result, Renzi will still be able to influence Italian politics because his party still has enough members of the parliament to rule the country.

It is very likely that Italy will not have early elections like suggested by Renato Brunetta, the leader of Forza Italia in the Chamber. With this electoral law, a possible early election would give a very fragmented vote. It will result in the three big coalitions or parties not able to form a government or make any political agreements.

Europe after the Brexit

For Europe after the Brexit this is a very negative result, not only because  the President of EU Commission, Juncker and other important German ministers had endorsed Matteo Renzi, but also because as in the British case, part of the left (to a great degree) supported the victory of the populist forces.

The Italian left who voted No can be happy for internal gains of having stopped Renzi, but in terms of votes, the real winners are Beppe Grillo, Leader of the Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini, Leader of the Northern League.

The truth is that in Europe, Grillo and Salvini are among two anti-europe groups, and this vote is going for sure, after the victory of Donald Trump in US election, to reinforce the euro-skepticism prevalent in the region.

The problem then is that all these anti-europe parties are deeply divided and even in the EU Parliament they sit in two different groups. Furthermore, we have the “not inscribed” members of European parliament which are forming a third “virtual gathering” known as a virtual political Group. They have completely different objectives and goals, and even Marine Le Pen in France is likely not to win the Presidential election.

Far-right and populists may have won some votes, but a large majority of Italians and especially Europeans are still faithful to mainstream parties. In this context this is further proof that the left is in deep crisis, because they are no longer able to speak to the poor and disadvantaged in our society. Meanwhile, the populist with shock slogans and loud proposals are “stealing” votes from the socialist forces.

On Monday morning however, Europe should not panic, Italy will have another PM soon with a majority support, who will be able to face the country’s urgent legal and political challenges.

The real priority in Italy now, after having three “non-elected” Prime ministers, is to produce a serious electoral law that will enable an election of a winner who will be able to form the government.

Read more: Simon Glendinning: I Have Not Lost Faith In The European Political Project

Grandesso Federico is an Italian editor and a widely published expert on European Affairs.

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