The second round of voting has more or less been counted, for those provinces and cities whose initial results were indecisive. Rome voted again yesterday and today for both province and municipality. The PD has, it appears, retained the province. But for the first time in almost 20 years, there will be a right-wing mayor of Rome. Rutelli has failed to win himself a third term in office, and instead we will now have Gianni Alemanno, of the "post"-fascist Alleanza Nazionale.
Alemanno, for those who don't know him, is a former leader of the MSI's youth wing, and a close ally of Fini. In those years he also worked closely with the so-delightful Storace, previously mentioned. He has been arrested on suspicion of acts of political violence a number of occasions, though with no conclusive outcome; in fairness I should mention that given the profound corruption and political agenda which has historically existed in certain judicial and police circles, this is not in itself a sign of anything much.
His policies for Rome, along with discussing waste disposal (avoiding turning into Naples), childcare (more of it), pollution (less of it) and public transport (er... continuing the successful policies of his predecessor Veltroni), include as a matter of urgency "expelling 20,000 illegal immigrants from the city". Lots of talk about crime and immigrants. Oh joy. Somehow this has depressed me more than the general election even.
There is a murky and unpleasant background to this: on 16 April a student from Lesotho was raped near the station of La Storta, a northern suburb of Rome. She was rescued by a pair of Italian passersby who became much vaunted press heroes in the following days. The man accused is a Romanian, who was painted by initial reports as a "typical" feckless immigrant living in one of the many illegal shanty-towns here.
But odd things have begun to emerge. The accused, surprisingly for a jobless homeless immigrant, is being represented by a very well-known and vastly expensive lawyer. Who has demanded (and been granted) time for a psychiatric assessment which prevents any further questioning of his client for the next 3 weeks (i.e. til safely after the election). One of the two Italians who reported the crime, meanwhile, is part of Alemanno's law & order mob, turning up on campaign platforms with him. While having a criminal record of his own. Oh, and the two knights in shinign armour didn't call the police...they just waited til they bumped into a carabinieri patrol and mentioned it to them. Now, this might very well be all irrelevant paranoia (though Italy teaches cynicism in such matters). But when you consider that crime & immigration & the fraught nexus between the two have been one of the single largest issues in Alemanno's victory, you have to at least wonder.