PD Secretary Matteo Renzi speaks during the Italian Social Democratic Party PD National Assembly on December 15, 2013 in Milan, Italy Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Les enjeux du référendum italien

MILAN – Au cours des 68 dernières années l'Italie a connu 17 élections législatives et quelques référendums. Mais ce n'est que par trois fois qu'une élection en Italie a suscité l'attention de la communauté internationale : en 1948 lorsque elle a eu à choisir entre l'Occident et le communisme, en 1976 quand les électeurs ont été confrontés à un choix analogue, cette fois entre les chrétiens-démocrates et "l'eurocommunisme" d'Enrico Berlinguer, et maintenant, avec le référendum du 4 décembre concernant des réformes constitutionnelles.

Ce référendum sera lourd de conséquences. Le Premier ministre Matteo Renzi joue son avenir politique sur le résultat, car il s'est engagé à démissionner (mais pas immédiatement) en cas de victoire du Non. Si tel était le résultat, la coalition gouvernementale de centre-gauche serait elle aussi irrémédiablement affaiblie : le parti démocrate de Renzi est déjà en proie à conflits internes portant sur les réformes et il ne pourra peut-être pas éviter une scission, même si le Oui l'emporte.

Une défaite de Renzi serait considérée comme une victoire des deux principaux partis populistes, la Ligue du Nord et le Mouvement 5 étoiles du comédien Beppe Grillo. Ces deux partis ne sont pas alliés, mais tous deux sont mus par une hostilité à l'égard de l'establishment et sont favorables à des "solutions nationales" pour répondre aux problèmes de l'Italie – avec en priorité le retour à la lire.

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