El regreso de Italia a la parálisis política

Durante más de una década, Italia ha estado gobernada por un sistema político bipolar. Los electores podían elegir entre una coalición de izquierda y una coalición de derecha. Quienes se desilusionaban con el gobierno en turno podían votar por la oposición. Y la existencia de una alternativa viable ha tenido como efecto que los políticos se disciplinen: no es gratuito que el gobierno de Silvio Berlusconi haya llegado al final de su período de gobierno.

Esto contrasta marcadamente con la tradición política italiana. A lo largo de la posguerra, hasta principios de los años 1990, los gobiernos italianos no sobrevivían más de un año en promedio. Los electores no podían elegir entre el gobierno en turno y la oposición porque siempre estaban en el poder los mismos partidos de centro. Las crisis de gobierno eran simplemente oportunidades para reacomodar los puestos clave del gabinete o para cambiar la facción del partido del primer ministro.

Sin embargo, ahora se corre un alto riesgo de que los políticos italianos regresen a sus malas costumbres. Esto puede parecer extraño, dado el antagonismo entre Romano Prodi y Silvio Berlusconi durante la campaña electoral. Pero ese antagonismo reflejaba la personalización de la política que alcanzó Berlusconi, así como una característica institucional que él abolió. Uno de los últimos actos de su gobierno fue reemplazar el sistema electoral mayoritario, adoptado en 1993, con la representación proporcional. El nuevo sistema electoral cambia los incentivos de los políticos y podría inducir a un regreso a las coaliciones cambiantes y los gobiernos inestables. Esto se podría acelerar si, como es probable, el propio Berlusconi se distanciara de la política en el próximo período de gobierno.

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