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NEWS: Italian voters reject austerity, water privatization

Bloomberg reports that Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement has won more than 160 seats in the Italian Parliament, denying both a majority to Pier Luigi Bersani and a comeback to Premier Silivio Berlusconi.

The news service notes, “The ballot that swept Grillo’s forces into parliament rejected the German-inspired austerity put into practice by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti. …Grillo’s forces will get 108 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and at least 54 seats in the Senate. While Bersani won a majority in the lower house thanks to the bonus seats, no single political force amassed more than 40 percent of the Senate. Berlusconi said in an interview televised today on Canale 5 that he is open to forming a broad coalition to avoid a new vote.”

The Globe and Mail‘s Eric Reguly comments, “The question is whether the Italian-style uprising will ripple through the rest of Europe, especially in the countries deep in recession and saddled with high unemployment rates. Many economists, analysts and politicians think it will.”

And the Economic Times reports, “European Parliament president Martin Schulz warned against the risks of the recession-hit nation slipping into an ‘incalculable and ungovernable situation’ and called upon the main parties to break the political impasse by dealing with pragmatism. …Schulz also cautioned EU to take seriously the Italian voters’ ‘anguish and hopelessness expressed through their protest votes’. The outcome of the two-day election ‘is a clear warning to Europe and its political leaders and the EU must take this warning seriously,’ he said.”

Last year, the Blue Planet Project produced a report on the impact of austerity measures on the human right to water with our allies in Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria. To read that report, go to http://www.blueplanetproject.net/documents/RTW/RTW-Europe-1.pdf.

For more, please read:
UPDATE: Keeping watch on Italian austerity measures and water privatization
NEWS: EU leaders under fire for pressing for water privatization in bailout deals
NEWS: European Day of Action and Solidarity
WIN! Italians reject water privatization, market rules on water pricing