Perhaps my headline is overstated but there is some truth to it. Italy’s upcoming elections on February 24-25 are resonating throughout the European Union’s capital cities of course but other nations are paying attention as well, especially those with business interests in Italy or with Italian companies. Even US and UK newspapers are filled with news of the Italian elections.
Sadly many also seem to think that the elections won’t produce a stable majority because of the particularities of the electoral system. I’m in Italy at the moment for a series of exciting wine events which I will write about at length but it’s hard to ignore the political and economic crisis around me.
Everyone I know in Italy has a different view than those on the outside. I went to a meeting last week which I wrote about here, and the view was very different from what I am seeing on the ground now that I am in Italy.
While Beppe Grillo seemed a real outlier in the past few months, according to his website he had almost 800,000 people at a demonstration in Rome last night in Piazza San Giovanni. While that number seems extreme, from the discussions I have had this week all over Italy, many will be voting for him as a protest vote. While the idea isn’t that he will win, apparently the thought is that he will send 100 members to parliament who may shake things up.
No one I have spoken with is happy with anyone running it seemed to me. I am leaving Tuscany today and going back to Milan. It will be interesting to see what my Northern friends say, many being more conservative than those in central Italy.
Without a doubt, exports will still drive the Italian economy no matter who is in power so once again, I urge everyone to buy and drink Italian wine. The country we all love needs growth and we can all help in this small way.