Italy: Mattarella's Risky Move

Italy: Mattarella's Risky Move

Well, Italy was all set to become the first Western European country led by an all-populist coalition, but the country’s president, Sergio Mattarella (pictured above), put a stop to it. On Sunday, he used his constitutional authority to veto the government proposed by the right wing Lega and anti-establishment Five Star Movement. His reason? Lega and Five Star had nominated a finance minister, Paolo Savona, with a long track record of calling for Italy to leave the eurozone.

Mattarella saw Savona’s inclusion in the government as a trick meant to put a potentially ruinous eurozone exit on the agenda, even after an electoral campaign in which both parties had backed away from that idea in order to win more centrist votes. But for Lega and Five Star, Mattarella’s move showed that the establishment would cynically use any technicality possible to keep outsiders from running Italy.

Now the country — which has gone without a government for 86 days, a postwar record — may see fresh elections in which the polarizing appeal of the Lega and its center-right partners will likely grow. For all his anger today, Lega party boss Matteo Salvini may be in an even stronger position in six months.

All of which poses a bigger question: If you’re the “establishment” is it better to

a) block populist upstarts from forming a government, but, in doing so, risk inflaming the passions that make them popular in the first place? or

b) allow inexperienced leaders to take office in the hope that they discredit themselves, even if that risks hurling the country (and even Europe) into economic chaos?

Microsoft announced earlier this year the launch of a new United Nations representation office to deepen their support for the UN's mission and work. Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it's public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Microsoft has found that progress requires two elements - international cooperation among governments and inclusive initiatives that bring in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. Microsoft provided an update on their mission, activities for the 75th UN General Assembly, and the team. To read the announcement from Microsoft's Vice President of UN Affairs, John Frank, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

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