Guest Commentary: Anti-Euro Party Gaining Traction in Italy
Greece's Alexis Tsipras is not alone in a categorical objection to the euro-zone policies. The euro-zone's third largest country and a member of the G-7, is seeing a rise in anti-establishment and anti-euro sentiment.
The difference between Italy and Spain is that the anti-euro sentiment now has a leader: Beppe Grillo. The spotlight could return to Italy sooner than later.
Grillo, 63, is a former comedian that started a political blog a few years ago. His "anti-politicians" political party called Movimento 5 stelle - the 5 stars movement. In the 1980s, his criticism about politicians triggered an effective ban from appearing on public television.
However, he made his way to public attention in recent years through word of mouth internet campaigns, in which he continued attacking politicians for corruption. Since 2009, he is active in party politics.
In Greece, the anti-bailout SYRIZA party led by Tsipras failed to win the second elections, but its message certainly influenced the situation, and influenced the new government to adopt a long list of demands in renegotiating the terms of the bailout, something Germany strictly opposes. The shadow of Tsipras certainly weighs on the EU Summit, adding to the chances it will fail.
A similar thing could happen in Italy.
Grillo's party had significant achievement in the recent local elections. Together with the worsening situation in Greece and in Spain, Grillo's party now ranks second in opinion polls.
This is quite a shocker for mainstream politicians who criticize Grillo but may try to gain popularity by adopting his anti-euro message.
The political situation in Italy is fragile: Mario Monti's government has run out of steam. It doesn't enjoy support within the Italian public, and also the political parties don't back him.
The parties in parliament are not in a big rush to bring elections forward. These are planned for 2013. However, new reforms will also wait. With no help from the ECB to lower bond yields and no reforms to convince the markets, Italy will find it hard to hide behind Spain.
By Yohay Elam, Forex Crunch
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