The Guest Blog

Mario Monti’s mistake

By Alessandra Flora

Everybody across Europe knows Mario Monti. Beyond doubt he’s one of the most respected and admired economists and politicians.

In 2011, when Italy’s Head of State, Giorgio Napolitano, nominated him prime Minister, after Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation, Monti inherited many problems from the previous governments, above all a very high sovereign debt, an increasing unemployment rate and a low productivity index. Like other prime leaders (Hollande, Merkel, Obama) he had to face one of the worst economic crisis of the last 50 years, maybe the worst. His popularity declined over a few months. Maybe the cure was worse than the disease.

At the end of 2012 Monti decided to candidate himself for the political elections in March 2013, allying with the Centre parties: Luca Cordero di Montezemolo’s “Italia Futura” and Pierferdinando Casini’s party. Monti thought that by joining his forces with the Liberal Parties he could win the elections. But he was wrong, mainly because these parties weren’t strong enough. Montezemolo’s “Italia Futura” is a small, recent political movement, maybe too close to the upper class and the industrialists. Besides, for young people Casini’s party is too close to the old Democrazia Cristiana and too similar to the old-style politics.

Although he is still popular abroad, Monti was heavily defeated at last elections. Even though he rescued Italy’s economy from default, he lost his previous popularity among people. Today Italians pay the highest taxes and they suffer the highest unemployement rate of last 20 years. Everyday almost 400 SME are closing due to the crisis. Many entrepreneurs are tragically forced to commit suicide. Italian economy is depressed and young people have to leave their country and look for a job abroad. It is clearly not Monti’s fault, but the Italian electorate doesn’t want to be governed by him anymore.

A few days ago Monti declared he was going to leave “Scelta Civica”, the party he had contributed to found. In the future he will be just life senator. He seems saddened and tired by the whole situation. He hopes the next government will tell Italians the truth, as he did.

Last year he was the most appropriate candidate for the role of Head of State, after Giorgio Napolitano. Now it is not so.

People wonder for what reason Monti decided to candidate himself. He wasn’t elected by the population; he was just nominated by the Head of State in a specific moment of political uncertainty. His government was a “technical” one. After only one year, his austerity was too much for the Italians. Maybe this has been a fatal error.

It’s a pity that there are long odds to see him as the new President of the Republic. He would have been recognized as an eminent representative of Italy everywhere.

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  1. It is too easy to judge a politician after the election.

    I think Monti did what he found the vest at the moment with the available information.

    He was the head of a technocrat government – which is not the normal way democracies work. In other words, he did not put himself to the test of democratic elections before so the legitimicy of his policy was at least queationable.

    Now, he corrected this situation and electors judged him. Of course, he did a lot of great things and saved the country from financial collapse but ordinary people have the final word to say.

    And still, he holds the trust of a large number of the population, a fact we cannot deny.

    Moreover, he has now the legitimacy to negotiate about future coalition – although his formation is the 4th one, that is true.

    As a conclusion, I am not sure if this election result can be regarded, as a defeat for Monti.

    I remain at your disposal.


  2. He would have been, indeed, a stately president. After the technocratic adventure he went through, I suspect, he can hardly wait to give active politics a rest.

  3. It’s a shame !
    It’s not a matter of men: we have to change the “operating system” !!!

    No one talk about the END OF DEMOCRACY ?
    No one voted for him, UE decided for all italians and maybe if the suicides and 400 SME destroyed each day are not its fault, people now have the right to be against this “modus operandi”. People are sovereign !

    Iceland teach us that a default is not so bad as the austerity !
    Politicians, bad investors and banks have to pay ! Not only the ordinary people !

    Mario Monti will not be president of the republic, but he’ll be life senator !!!!
    This is a shame !

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