Italy just elected their first far-right leader since Mussolini. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
There is a general trend towards 'outsiders' and 'strong men' in much of Europe.
This is unfortunate, if predictable.
We've seen this in France, the U.K, Hungary, Poland and more.
In respect of Italy it has some comparatively unique problems all its own.
Its financial picture is problematic, both for the state and its banking sector; its demographically challenged, its had a long history of short-lived, unstable governments...........
Its also got a very distinct north-south dichotomy. The north is Italy's traditional heavy industry and productive economic power. It was never Germany, but this 1/2 of the country has generated much of Italy's wealth and rising standard of living post WWII.
Meanwhile, the south of Italy feels much as did decades ago, relatively smaller population centres, more agrarian and small-scale business based vs heavy industry/commerce, and is, effectively a net drag on Italy's economic performance.
The south feels a lot like Greece did 15 years ago......too many retirees, early retirees and people who aren't all that busy........very reliant on state support.
This creates a very real friction between north and south in Italy contributing to its problems w/stable government.
Italy is also beset by levels of overt corruption that just would not be tolerated in contemporary Canadian society. We have plenty of corruption here, but very little is of the overt, here's a bribe to the tax inspector variety, where in Italy these types of things remain common.
Between that and successive governments unwilling or unable to tackle the country's challenges with frank honesty.
From addressing corruption, to modernizing the south, to better accepting immigration to raising retirement age, Italy has managed to avoid or band-aid more problems than it has solved.
Important to say, much of the above was true 30 years ago, but when Europe as a whole was on the rise, as was 'The West', a lot of structural problems were masked by relative prosperity.
Too low a retirement age doesn't hurt when the population is relatively young; but the pain grows as the population ages; and the age of 5% annualized growth largely passes.
Canada has some of the same issues as Europe (as does the U.S.) successive governments have favoured big business and global trade at the expense of their workforces and populations, particularly the lower-skilled.
The distinction in the U.S. and Canada has largely been greater acceptance of immigrants has offset some of the demographic challenges, and economies that were a bit leaner to begin with have been somewhat more adaptable than those of southern Europe in particular.
But we too have increasingly restive parts of our population who are struggling and we must be mindful to address this before it becomes a larger problem.