Commentary. We saw a constitutional referendum become a social referendum, where each voter, for a moment, felt free to vote for something they believed in.

The latest Renzi farce

The election on Sunday could have changed for the worse the features of our parliamentary democracy. But the vote proves that we are still sane, an Italian citizenry that still wants to take on seriously the difficult situation in which the young, brilliant Renzi had brought us.

It reminds me of a period comedy, or the tribulations of a banana republic. Obviously, I’d think of inveterate charlatans who like to go from Berlusconi to Renzi.

In order to avoid entrusting the power in the hands of a mafia boss, we find ourselves with a prime minister who Wednesday requested a confidence vote in the Senate on the budget law, in spite of his resignation.

We find ourselves with a Senate that just escaped the guillotine, which cannot freely discuss the most important law of the government because the prime minister, after presenting his resignation before the cameras on the night of the referendum setback, puts his resignation on hold for an afternoon and asks for their vote of confidence.

But then, just a few hours later, he went to the Quirinale palace invested with the head of government jacket, signs his resignation, and sits in front of President Mattarella in his capacity as secretary of the Democratic Party to consult him on the crisis of governance of his government.

The antics of his resignation on live TV, offered to the late night public, have embarrassed and hampered the work of the president of the republic, who should have received it first, without little tears and hugs. And unfortunately this will not be the last rift that the demolition man, the man of change, the innovator of Italian politics, the reformer of the constitution, leaves us as a legacy to be disposed of.

Many of those who voted Yes, like Romano Prodi, held their noses while finding the reform a real shame. If by any bad luck had they won, in addition to their negligible stomach ache, they would have given us many years of Renzi.

But how did those leaders of the old Communist Party, those old and newly minted Democrats, those Catholic adults, support a person who has no qualms about anything and suffers from a bulimia of power? The same one who trespasses the prerogatives of the president of the republic and treats the President as if he were an usher at the Nazareno, the headquarters of the Democratic Party.

But how could Giorgio Napolitano support him and inspire him in the frantic war against the constitution to the point of voting in parliament an electoral law, the Italicum, knowing that it would be valid only if the Yes option won the referendum, that is, only after the abolition of the Senate.

We ended up in unreliable hands, and for this, we have to say thanks to the left of the Democratic Party that at first voted repeatedly for the constitutional reform and then said No (apart from Cuperlo).

Today the ship’s bulletin says Renzi will ask Mattarella for an institutional government with a majority made of those that constitute the No (so, Berlusconi and Forza Italia). Otherwise, there will be a new call to the polls.

We will see. In the meantime we know already that this is the Democratic Party leadership that has put the country in the referendum meat grinder, and now lets it down for the incursions of the big boss, who is wounded and looking for rescue in an upcoming election campaign. And we don’t know when or whether it will be held or which electoral law will be applied. That is, if, as the magnificent Renzi-Alfano duo wants, the ballot boxes will open in the spring like flowers with some kind of government in power.

Meanwhile, the economic and social policies of Palazzo Chigi will continue to turn out vouchers, tickets and poverty. Now, 48 percent for couples with children and 51 percent of children are under the poverty line.

For those who read these numbers provided by Istat, is not difficult to interpret certain exaggerated percentages of No, like 81 percent of young unemployed people with a high level of education, like the poor South rich in big cities of No. Both constituent groups, the young and the South, transfigured a constitutional referendum into a social referendum, where each voter, for a moment, felt free to vote for something he or she believed in, as did the vast world of small and large movements, from community centers to the CGIL, ANPI, to the No committees.

And even if the bad company we needed in our coalition to sink Renzi weighed us down, we defended through clenched teeth the constitutional democracy which mattered the most. For once, we won, and won well.

Now we rely on the head of state not to allow any ballets or shortcuts, and entrust the helm to personalities with institutional relevance, an independent person capable of leading the country out of the quagmire created by Renzi toward new elections.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your weekly briefing of progressive news.

You have Successfully Subscribed!