Italian election 2018: Italy is divided between the north and south
Tito Boeri, president of the Italian Social Security Agency, said the EU’s founding member has been “split in half” after voters shunned the centre-left and vote for centre-right and populist parties, with no party receiving enough voters to form a government.
In the wealthy north, voters turned out in the Italian elections 2018 to the right-wing coalition dominated by the far-right Lega (League).
While, the anti-elite 5-Star Movement (M5S) triumphed in the underdeveloped south.
Mr Boeri said: “The trouble for the two parties is that, while they may agree on some key issues, including pension reform and immigration, they diverge starkly on how to fix Italy’s ailing economy.
Italy is to be entrenched in a north-south divide that will make the country ungovernable for some time to come
“This will ultimately make it impossible for them to govern together and is likely to entrench a north-south divide that will make the country ungovernable for some time to come.”
Whoever ends up governing the country after the inconclusive March 4 vote will not be able to ignore the gaping chasm, but will face deeply conflicting demands from the two halves of a fractured nation, and few funds to remedy the situation.
Mr Boeri said the split between the industrialised north and the deprived south has never been so stark and is likely to have profound implications for Italy and Europe for years to come.
Writing for politics news site, Politico.co.uk, he said: “If the election’s winners truly want to change the country, they will have to come up with solutions that benefit and appease both northern and southern voters.
“But given the campaign promises that swept both parties into power, it is far more likely that the country stays divided.”
The Mezzogiorno, or “noon” as the south is called in Italian, has lagged the rest of the country for decades, but the recent financial crisis is said to have exacerbated the problem.
Its economy shrank 7.2 per cent between 2001-2016, according to latest data, while Italy’s output grew some 1 per cent over the same period and that of the European Union by 23.2 per cent.
Unemployment in the south stands at almost 18 per cent versus 6.6 per cent in the north, with youth unemployment at 46.6 per cent – more than double the level at the top of the country.
With 4.7 million Italians living in absolute poverty, the 5-Star promised to introduce a monthly minimum income of up to €780 (£691) for the poor.
Although many analysts say heavily indebted Italy can ill-afford the plan, there is little doubt it convinced almost half of all Italy’s unemployed to vote for 5-Star, with the party becoming the lodestone for the disaffected and disenfranchised.
While, the Lega promised a flat rate income tax, which aims to reduce fiscal revenues by an estimated €60billion.
But Mr Boeri said both countries plans were “contradictory” and the two of them together would be “unfeasible”.
Italian elections 2018: In the wealthy north voters turned to Lega
Mr Boeri said: “Italy’s stark regional divide has a simple explanation: Wages are too low in the north and too high in the south.
“Lega voters will never agree to forego the promised tax reductions to finance transfers to people not working in the south.
“Similarly, the M5S cannot give up their flagship proposal without a rebellion of their southern voters.
“As a result, the country – and not just the political system – is likely to remain paralysed and divided for a long while.”