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Changing Spots in Italy

Changing Spots in Italy

Italy’s election on Sunday repeated a now-familiar European political story. After a campaign defined largely by anti-immigrant and anti-European rhetoric, disillusioned voters battered centrist parties and boosted upstart contenders and the far right. The biggest winners in Italy were the Five Star Movement, a young protest party started by a TV comedian which espouses online direct democracy, and the rightwing Lega Nord.


But no single party or coalition won enough votes to govern alone, so now the horse trading begins, chiefly between Five Star, Lega, and the beleaguered incumbents of the center-left Democratic Party. The talks could last months, and political deadlock is a national tradition in Italy: the country has had more than 60 governments in the last 70 years.

For Europe there are two main concerns. First, the leading Italian parties have promised to boost spending and cut taxes despite Italy’s huge debt burden. If financial markets get spooked by an inexperienced government, Europe could flirt with a fresh debt crisis in the continent’s third largest economy.

Second, with a more Euroskeptic government in Rome, Brussels will have a harder time reaching common ground on critical issues like Brexit terms, East European defiance of democratic norms, or broader reforms to EU institutions meant to make the Union function better at the cost of even less sovereignty for members.

Within Italy, the challenge for whoever runs the country next is this: voters last Sunday returned a scorching mandate for change. But making good on that expectation won’t be easy in a political culture as corrupt and parochial as Italy’s. To paraphrase a line from The Leopard, the country’s power brokers are exceptionally skilled at changing things in order to keep them the same.

Meet Alessandra Cominetti, a recipient of MIT Technology Review Magazine's Innovators Under 35 award. As a lab technician at Eni's Research Centre for Renewable Energy in Novara, Alessandra has devoted her career to finding new solutions and materials to optimize solar energy. Much like the serendipitous encounter that resulted in her employment, her eagerness and willingness to try new things allowed her to stumble upon a material for the creation of portable solar panels.

Watch her remarkable story on the latest episode of Faces of Eni.

"If [the election] is very close and it ends up in the courts, that kind of protracted situation I think will lead many Americans to believe that it was an unfair election." Rick Hasen, election law expert and author of Election Meltdown, lays out some of the worst-case scenarios for Election Day, ranging from unprecedented voter suppression to dirty tricks by foreign actors. The conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television this Friday, October 30. Check local listings.

Joe Biden has vowed to radically change the US' approach to foreign policy and international diplomacy should he win next week's election.

But a lot has happened in four years under Donald Trump that could impede Biden's ability to simply return to the status quo ante. How different would US foreign policy really be under a Biden presidency? What will the two-term former vice president likely be able to change, and what's bound to remain the same, at least for now?

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On Wednesday, November 4 at 11a EST, we're gathering a panel to discuss "What Just Happened" with the US election. GZERO Media's Ian Bremmer, Tony Maciulis and Alex Kliment will be joined by The Washington Post's Karen Attiah and Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber. Watch live at: gzeromedia.com/gzerolive.

Decision 2020: What Just Happened? Wednesday, November 4, 11a EST/8a PST

Panelists:

Bookmark this link to watch live: gzeromedia.com/gzerolive

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on a special US election edition of US Politics In 60 Seconds:

So, we're about five days out from the election right now.

And the story of this week has been the remarkably steady polling lead for Joe Biden that he's had for months now. The other big story is the turnout, massive amounts of turnout. 100% of the 2016 vote already cast in Texas. 60% nationwide votes already cast. We are headed for record shattering turnout, could be around 155 million Americans voting.

On election night, what are we watching for?

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