All change in Italy and Spain?

Submitted by Matthew on 9 November, 2011 - 2:22

Italy’s billionaire “playboy” prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is coming under increasing pressure to step aside as his country slips ever-closer towards economic crisis.

Berlusconi’s opinion rating dropped to a record low of 22% after a rally on 6 November.

Italian left party Rifondazione called last week for immediate elections, to act as a referendum on the economic policy forced on the country by the EU and carried out by Berlusconi.

Even Berlusconi’s Northern League coalition partner leader Umberto Bossi called on him to resign before a crucial budget debate as the interest rate on Italy’s borrowing reached 6.74%.

Italy currently has a debt worth €1.9 trillion, 120% of its GDP.

The economic crisis in Italy is the most compelling reason yet for Berlusconi to go. But the left and labour movement has to map out a serious socialist alternative to challenge the austerity cuts which will follow whatever the political shape of Italy’s government.

Spain

The conservative Popular Party (PP) is favourite to win in Spain’s general election on 20 November.

The main plank of the PP’s campaign has been to criticise the ruling Socialist Party for a 21% unemployment rate. To counter that they propose mild as milk policies for growth (encouraging small businesses, etc).

In practice the PP will stick to a strict austerity programme — just as they have done in local government, where they are now the biggest party.

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