The conventions of reformist left movements Democratici di Sinistra and La Margherita, last week, marked their De Facto fusion into the newborn Partito Democratico (PD), in what seems like an attempt, by the moderate left, to free itself from the more radical one, represented mainly by Comunisti Italiani and Rifondazione Comunista, both left out of the new Movement. As the President of the Senate Marini declared yesterday, "Government talks will no more be held under the roof of L'Unione (the left's coalition), and the PD will be free to choose who to talk to", suggesting that the new PD could look for allies among the center political forces, marginalizing the extreme left.
Meanwhile, the electoral reform has returned to the top of the Agenda. While the Government made clear it will not formulate any ad hoc law proposal, the struggle is now between the Parliament and the bipartisan pro-referendum committee, which includes figures such as Alleanza Nazionale's Gianfranco Fini and Defense Minister Arturo Parisi. The latter will have 3 months, starting from today, to collect the 500.000 signatures required to initiate the referendum. Their success would probably represent a blow for the ruling coalition. Infact, a referendum would take away a legislative process – which promises to be slow and lumbering - from the Parliament, and thus from the majority, undermining its plan to use it to prolong the Cabinet's life.
Among the proposals on the table is a gradual raise of the electoral threshold to 5%, opposed by the small radical parties. Again, another sign of a trend oward a more and more bipolar political system, in which the center parties are likely to gain influence and play a key role at the expense of the extremist left, of whose blackmail the moderate one seems increasingly tired.
It is hard not to notice, however, that a move meant to simplify the political scene and bring some unity to an extremely fragmented left, has ended up creating new disagreement among those in the fringes of the very movements from whi the DP will be created. Left leaning Mussi (DS) and center leaning Bordon (La Margherita), for example, are both likely to privilege their need for leadership over that for unity, by creating their own parties and thus nourishing the very fragmentation the PD was supposed to be the antidote for.