A political earthquake in Italy

It was unexpected, someone said. Not that Veltroni had so many chances to win – let’s put it clear – but at the same time, the victory obtained by the Pdl (People of Freedom –Popolo della Libertà) was so crystal clear that it surprised many.


Berlusconi’s Pdl has, in fact, won 46.8 to 37.6 against Veltroni’s PD at the Parliament, not to mention the 43,7 Vs. 38 obtained at the Palazzo Madama’s Senate. That Means the Pdl can count on 340 seats against PD’s 239 at the Parliament and 168 Senators against 130. It is a undisputable victory and it leaves no room for speculation.  “ The right has achieved a historical victory” Berlusconi pointed out after reading the newspapers this morning.


During the exit polls yesterday, everyone have noticed that, compared to last elections in 2006, less people had voted.


According to Nando Pagnoncelli – a political analyst – “Italians have chosen political pragmatism, and by doing that they sent a strong message”. He thinks the lower attendance does not have to be considered as a negative fact but rather as a physiological trend.


Another political analyst –Marcello Veneziani –thinks that, anyway, 80% of Italians have voted and that is still a good average for a western country, he also thinks that the results shows that Italians prefer a two party solution, like during the sixties when the Pci (Partito Comunista Italiano) and the Dc (Democrazia Cristiana) where facing each other.


That said, this elections have unveiled something: there will be no more hammer and sickle around in the Italian politics, neither at the Parliament, nor at the Senate. That is surprising. Especially in a country in which the Pci has always been a very strong Party, perhaps one of the most influential communist parties in Europe. Don’t forget that there is a neighborhood in Moscow called “Togliattigrad” (Togliatti being the main Pci Leaders ever).  This is another historical achievement. For whom the bell tolls? It seems like finally that given bell has rang for the communists, while Nepal is turning red, Italy is shaking off the rests of the USSR influence. Can’t we call it a earthquake?


It seems like Fausto Bertinotti – leader of the Rifondazione Comunista Party – said while staring at the tv screen, showing the results yesterday: “No, please, not in this way…” . His comment was remarking the poor performance his party played even in those regions that were once considered “red strongholds” in Italy, such as Tuscany, Umbria and Emilia-Romagna.


As if all this news are not enough, here’s another hint: the new cabinet will be smaller than the previous one, according to Berlusconi: “ the new government will be formed by an agile team – it won’t be more than sixty elements – the half of the last government…everything is already clear in my mind”.


Who will be the players forming the “agile team”? Gianni Letta – Berlusconi’s longtime righthand – will be the vice-premier , “a essential person for the government  – said the Pdl leader – a most peculiar man, that everyone esteems”.


Giulio Tremonti would be the Minister of Economy for the second time –while Stefania Prestigiacomo will guide the Ministry of Equal Opportunities. Lucio Stanca will instead be the Minister of Innovation. Gianfranco Fini will most probably end up being the Speaker of the House and there are some rumors about the future Foreign Minister: Franco Frattini is one of the candidates for such post, a bird told me, though, that someone else is expected to seat on that chair.


Also, “in this cabinet  -Berlusconi anticipated – there will be at least four women”  even if man are still dominating the Italian political scene as he said commenting on Zapatero’s “too pink” government.


The key-role of Defense Minister is disputed between Antonio Martino (former Defense Minister during the last center-right government) and Ignazio La Russa (Fini’s  colleague).


What will be the new government’s  first moves? Easy: solve the main problems that have affected Italy during the last two years, that being the garbage in Naples, Alitalia and the inflation that is causing Italian families to lose their buying power.


“About the crisis with inflation –said Berlusconi during a radio address – we already have something in mind, it’s a defined project that we’ll immediately start , aimed at restraining prices”.  The first Council of ministers will be held in Naples to try to solve the garbage issue. “I will spend three days a week in Naples and will leave only when I’ll find a definitive solution to the problem [with garbage]”.


Also regarding the inflation problem which is eroding Italian salaries, Berlusconi wants to put an end on the infamous ( and expensive)“Ici” tax that every house owner has to pay once a year.  Another counter measure will be the so called “Bebè Bonus”, a one thousand euro price for each newborn. The new cabinet will also cut taxes for overtime pay.


The news with Alitalia are the same: Berlusconi does not want the company to “become French” but to stay Italian (you don’t want to change to colors of the logo…). He has often mentioned a network of Italian entrepreneurs willing to buy Alitalia, we will see.


Walter Veltroni has called his rival yesterday evening, he congratulated with Berlusconi for the victory and wished him good luck for the new government . He wanted to bring Obama’s motto “yes, we can” in Italy but, as it usually happens, something was “lost in translation”. “Yes, we can” does not mean “It’s doable” as the roman leftists translated it: “se po’ fa”. It means that “we can do it together” (possiamo farcela, in italian), the only problem being: Veltroni was running alone, perhaps it’s time for the former Mayor of Rome to find himself some good friends?     


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Andrea Loquenzi Holzer

The truth will set you free

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