The crop of candidates aren’t exactly setting Italians’ hearts on fire: A lackluster ballot with an aging political establishment on both the right and the left are prompting many natives to give up their vote. Voter turnout has historically been high in the country.
Sylvia Poggioli for NPR reports that the Italian economy is going through a crisis, with growth at zero and one in seven families unable to live off their yearly income.
Even more frightening, Italian workers are the lowest paid in Europe. But the politicians have the highest salaries in Europe. Polls are showing that only a small percentage of Italians trust their politicians.
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is running on the right. He comes attached with a pacemaker and facelifts, along with 5 years in office that did not deliver. He has also faced about a dozen corruption trials.
Walter Veltroni is running for the center-left, targeting the local mafias that keep local economies frozen. He wants a more efficient state, with more incentives for venture capitalists and a renewed desire to take chances.
Veltroni’s leadership may be a ray of hope for the iShares MSCI Italy Index (EWI), which is down 7.1% year-to-date.
If there’s a tie, both sides might have to join forces to pass the badly needed reforms.
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