Countries may be heading right, but city mayors are bastions of pragmatism
Obliged to function at street level, mayors are driven more by pragmatic realities than populist ideology
Say the words “Italy” and “politics” in one breath and many pundits — and voters — might sigh. After all, Italy is not often viewed as a place of political competence or credible leadership: its national government has experienced a carousel of leaders and its voters are so disenchanted that the largest party in the national Italian parliament is the Five Star Movement, a populist, anti-establishment group founded by a comedian.
However, if you want a different picture of Italian politics, look away from Rome to Milan. In recent years, this northern metropolis has quietly expanded its economic footprint at a striking pace: it accounts for a 10th of Italy’s GDP and sucks in a third of foreign direct investment and half of foreign real estate spending.