Prime Minister Mario Monti has his hands full. Not only is he dealing with Italy’s debt crisis, but his efforts to enforce and increase austerity measures in the country, as well as his choices for Cabinet members, referred to by some groups as the “party of bankers,” are escalating public outcry against his government and threatening to return Italy to a violence it thought it left behind late in the last century.
Bloomberg reported that a spate of threats, including letter bombs and bullets sent to public officials, has led to Monti warning against an atmosphere of political violence. On Monday Monti warned, “Threats and intimidations represent strategies of other eras that can’t and mustn’t return.”
But indications are that it might not be so easy to dismiss protests that included a letter bomb sent to an official with Italy’s tax collection agency Equitalia on Dec. 9–the official was wounded when the bomb went off–and bullets sent to Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno and Justice Minister Paola Severino this week. Italian anarchists claimed responsibility for a similar letter bomb intended for Deutsche Bank AG CEO Josef Ackermann on December 8.
Some of the anger stems from Monti’s former position as adviser for Goldman Sachs, and his choices of Cabinet members, which sound like a Who’s Who of Italian banking: Corrado Passera, the country’s development minister, is the former chief executive officer of Italy’s second-biggest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo; Mario Ciaccia, Passera’s deputy, was head of infrastructure at Intesa; and Labor Minister Elsa Fornero sat on Intesa’s board.