Both in Greece in 2012 and Italy in 2013, it took two elections to form a government. A repeat parliamentary contest was required in Greece and the unprecedented re-election of the outgoing President of the Republic in Italy before a cabinet could be formed. Against a background of economic crisis and national austerity, both countries experienced ‘protest elections’ in which the overriding concern for an unusually large proportion of voters was not to choose a government but to express dissent. The outcome included record-breaking electoral volatility, the decline of bipolarism, the startling rise of challenger parties and the transformation of national patterns of government formation, including experiments with grand coalitions and technocrat-led cabinets. These developments sent shock waves through Europe and beyond, suggesting Southern Europe might be drifting towards ungovernability.
The volume offers analyses of the key electoral contests at the parliamentary, presidential and local government levels, complemented by special studies of two key challenger parties, Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement in Italy and Golden Dawn in Greece. An introductory comparative overview traces the process of convergence between the political systems of Italy and Greece which appears to have been triggered by the economic crisis.
This book was published as a special issue of South European Society and Politics.
1. Living Parallel Lives: Italy and Greece in an Age of Austerity Susannah Verney and Anna Bosco
2. Five Stars and a Cricket. Beppe Grillo Shakes Italian Politics Fabio Bordignon and Luigi Ceccarini
3. A Landlord’s Notice to Quit: The May 2012 Municipal Elections in Italy James L. Newell
4. Don’t Count Your Chickens before They’re Hatched: The 2013 Italian Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Gianfranco Baldini
5. Beppe Grillo’s First Defeat? The May 2013 Municipal Elections in Italy Piergiorgio Corbetta and Rinaldo Vignati
6. In the Shadow of Grexit: The Greek Election of 17 June 2012 Sofia Vasilopoulou and Daphne Halikiopoulou
7. The Rise of Golden Dawn: The New Face of the Far Right in Greece Antonis A. Ellinas
The parallel regime transitions of the 1970s, when Southern Europe was the vanguard of the ‘third wave’ of democratisation, the impact of EU membership and Europeanisation and more recently, the region’s central role in the eurozone crisis have all made Southern Europe a distinctive area of interest for social science scholars. The South European Society and Politics book series promotes new empirical research into the domestic politics and society of South European states. The series, open to a broad range of social science approaches, offers comparative thematic volumes covering the region as a whole and on occasion, innovative single-country studies. Its geographical scope includes both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Southern Europe, defined as Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey.