Hoffer and Van der Bellen Jan Hetfleisch/Stringer

L’heure de vérité pour l’Europe

VIENNE – Alors que la plupart des États membres de l’Union européenne semblent saisis de panique à l’idée d’une victoire de Marine Le Pen, présidente du parti d’extrême-droite français Front National, lors de l’élection présidentielle en mai prochain, la prochaine épreuve de vérité de l’UE se présentera en fait bien plus tôt. Dimanche 4 décembre, les Italiens se rendront aux urnes pour approuver ou rejeter un référendum sur un projet de réforme constitutionnelle et les Autrichiens choisiront leur prochain président. Le résultat des votes dans ces deux pays pourrait avoir des répercussions majeures au-delà de leurs frontières.

En Italie, le scrutin s’est transformé en un vote de confiance envers le Premier ministre Matteo Renzi, qui a indiqué qu’il démissionnerait si le projet de réforme était rejeté.  Selon les derniers sondages, Renzi risque bien de devoir tenir cet engagement, ce qui pourrait signifier la fin de la social-démocratie réformiste en Italie – et ailleurs en Europe. En Autriche, les électeurs auront à choisir entre un candidat écologiste pro-européen et le candidat du Parti de la liberté d’Autriche (FPÖ), Norbert Hofer, un nationaliste du même acabit que Marine Le Pen, laquelle pourrait d’ailleurs tirer parti d’une victoire de Hofer.

Les modifications constitutionnelles que Renzi demande aux électeurs d’approuver corrigeraient en partie l’héritage de son prédécesseur Silvio Berlusconi – un héritage symptomatique des dommages que peut infliger le populisme de droite à un pays. Entre autres points, Berlusconi a modifié le système politique italien de manière à empêcher la gauche d’accéder pleinement au pouvoir à l’avenir et a fait adopter des lois bloquant les éventuelles poursuites judiciaires engagées à son encontre. 

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