Despite all the unease over austerity politics voters ultimately endorse it

Dialogue with the Alter Ego on the 2015 Regional Elections in Italy

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): On May 31, Italy held regional elections in seven provinces (Veneto, Liguria, Toscana, Umbria, Marche, Puglia, and Campania). These elections were being viewed as an important test for the center-left government of Matteo Renzi which loosely and broadly follows the much reviled austerity politics of Euroland. Preliminary results indicate that Renzi’s Partito Democratico came out as the strongest party in those elections with 25% of the vote, followed by Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Movement at 18,4 %, the Lega Nord at 12,5% and Fuerza Italia at 10,7%. Supposedly Noah denkt™ will argue that the Italian result is in line with the parliamentary elections in the UK and the regional elections in Spain where voters expressed their frustration over the pain of austerity politics but ultimately endorsed the latter for want of a better alternative?

Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Correct.

AE: And you are not prepared to concede that Mario Draghi’s Quantitative Easing may have more to do with the Renzi victory than austerity politics in and out of itself.

Nd: Clearly the loose monetary policy of the European Central Bank has helped Mr. Renzi a great deal. But if his success in yesterday’s vote were all due to the ECB than Mr. Cameron would probably not have won his national elections a few weeks earlier.

AE: Clearly, there are very important differences between British and Italian voters not the least of them being their exposure to protestant and Anglican traditions. And certainly, the British economy also benefits from the ECB’s money injection.

Nd: The British economy already started to recover before Mr. Draghi surrendered to his deflation angst. So the ECB hypothesis may not be very relevant here. And if Cameron’s win were due to the Anglican and protestant heritage of the UK, than Mariano Rajoy’s PP might have lost even more votes than it when it nevertheless came out as the most voted party in Spain’s recent regional elections. In other words, we believe that our theory has been conformed in Italy too according to which voters show their pain over austerity but ultimately endorse it.

AE: Obviously we’ll know after the Spanish national elections in December 2015 if your interpretation is correct. Let’s therefore wait until then.

Nd: Alright. Let’s wait until then.

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