When you enter the chamber of Palazzo Montecitorio, your first reaction is astonishment. At the majesty of the place, at its solemn importance, and at the starting moment of a new legislature: the seventeenth.
There are may unknown faces on the benches, plenty of young ones, and others belonging to politicians who have been here forever. Today begins the election of president of the Chamber of Deputies, one of Italy's two houses of Parliament. It is a long process: each parliamentarian is called up, the clerks hand them a ballot, they enter into a booth, they vote, and then they drop their ballot into the box. The ceremony repeats itself a good 630 times, in the liturgy which is typical of political institutions.
In the meantime the members meet with each other, exchange impressions, and then come out with the questions which characterize this climate of great uncertainty. What will happen? Will a government come together? Will it get off its feet? Who will manage to untangle the mess? It seems paradoxical that in the first parliament filled with young people and women, we still can't be sure that the phase of change the country so badly needs, will get underway.
"Let us do our work," I think to myself. "Peoples' pressing needs need to be answered." Approximately 500 thousand workers live in anxiety that in May, there will not be enough resources to renew the dispensation fund for temporarily laid-off employees. Hundreds of businesses are gasping for air because the public administration is not paying. Municipalities risk paralysis if the terms of the European Stability and Growth Pact are not reconsidered. Unemployment among the young is rising and there are no signs of recovery. The political system cannot ignore this picture--including the Five Stars Movement, which has decided to enter politics in order to bring about change.
The first and second votes ended inconclusively. In a bit, the ceremony will repeat itself -- I hope with a new prospect.
This post first appeared in Italian on L'Huffington Post