After the Elections: The Rise of Italy’s Third Republic?

NEW YORK, NY (April 5, 2018) On April 5, 2018, the Bertelsmann Foundation and Columbia University’s European Institute hosted a public forum to analyze the results of the recent Italian parliamentary elections. The event, titled “After the Elections, The Rise of Italy’s Third Republic?” featured a panel comprised of scholars and journalists including Nadia Urbinati, City University Professor Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti and Alexander Stille from Columbia’s School of Journalism.  The discussion began with a scene setting presentation by Anthony Silberfeld, Director of Transatlantic Relations at the Bertelsmann Foundation, who recently returned from his extensive field research in Italy.  The subsequent discussion with the panel of experts was moderated by Adam Tooze, Director of the European Institute.

The conversation provided the audience with a post-mortem on the Italian election and the role of technology in the actual and moral victories by the Five Start Movement and The League, respectively.  Experts then turned their attention to the broader implications of the Italian results for democracy in Europe and beyond.  The results of the U.S. elections, Brexit and now the Italian election seem to point to illiberalism on the rise despite the outcomes of elections in Germany and France.  Much of the exchange with the audience following the formal debate focused on how to blunt this disturbing trend and whether there is any leader in the West capable of spearheading this effort.

The Bertelsmann Foundation’s participation in this forum is part of its ongoing Disrupting Democracy project.  The joint engagement with Columbia University is the latest in an ongoing series that explores pressing topics of transatlantic interest.  This comes on the heels of a previous event on the aftermath of the German elections.  The next event will come in fall 2018 and will highlight European and American approaches to artificial intelligence and the future of work.


Anthony T. Silberfeld
Director, Transatlantic Relations