Lots of talk today about either a grand coalition or, more commonly, a new election within months.
I am not so sure. With the caveat that I really do not pretend to know what the various actors want, I want to put out the following propositions:
1. The vote was a rejection of Berlusconi if it was anything. Sure, he was not the incumbent, but his alliance had won the last election with a large plurality and wound up below 30% in this one. That’s staggering.
2. It was certainly not an endorsement of Bersani, who apparently just squeaked by to get the plurality–and hence a majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies–but whose alliance likewise is below 30%.
3. The Senate is divided, with Bersani’s alliance apparently
second to Berlusconi’s, but close having a narrow plurality (see Bancki’s comment, below).
4. Notwithstanding the first point, Berlusconi came from far behind in the polls and just missed pulling off a massive upset (in more ways than one).
Given all of this, why not a Bersani-led government that would be a minority government in the Senate?
It seems as if the center-left would be reluctant to go to a new election, for fear that the very small shift of votes needed to lose its Chamber majority just might happen in a new election. The wild card in this scenario is, of course, Grillo and his 5-Star Movement. (Mario Monti’s list does not hold the balance in the Senate.) On the one hand, Grillo sees himself as the single star (pun intended) of this election, and might think he could do better in a new one. On the other hand, presumably the risk of being responsible for a Berlusconi comeback would make him hesitate to jump back into a new election campaign. Maybe he could be enticed to support a Bersani-led government on confidence and supply?