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1.Market Observations, 8.Was Sticky

5 Dec 2016 (AFR) – Italy: Populist revolt leaves Italy on the brink ahead of refendum

(5 December 2016, AFR, p36, by Szu Ping Chan and Tim Wallace)

‘The 4 kilometre stretch of road that leads up to Mount Vesuvius offers much promise to tourists making the journey to its summit. The volcano, dominating the Naples skyline, is a grand and magnificent sight. Heads turn and fingers point as busloads of visitors take in the views along the winding route.  But as people start to pour out of the buses near its peak, they quickly realise that the entrance gate is as far as they will get this Sunday afternoon.  Tourist websites claim the attraction is open “all year long, every day”, but there is not a staff member in sight. Rain may have forced the early closure, but many of the restaurants around here have failed to capitalise on this prime location. Most are long abandoned. One derelict site is covered with layers of graffiti, messages and names in bright red, blue and green; as if a rainbow that once arched over this building collapsed, leaving in its wake a multi-coloured mess and no trace of gold. For Emanuela Esposito, who operates a guesthouse in Sorrento, 25km south-west of Pompeii, abandoned buildings are a too common sight in a country facing two lost decades of growth and 40 per cent youth unemployment. Esposito is one of many young Italians who will vote “No” in today’s (Monday AEDST) constitutional referendum, in what she sees as a vote against a power grab by the ruling elite. The complex and comprehensive reform, if given the green light, will pave the way for the dismantling of the current bicameral system, with the Senate stripped of most of its legislative powers.’

Read more at AFR.com (might need AFR login access, or tr: AFR.com/trial)

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