Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Election Update

So the national election results seem pretty clear now:

In the lower house, Berlusconi's PdL will have 276 seats to 217 for Veltroni & the PD. Meanwhile the centre-left ally, Italia dei Valori, has taken 29. The remnants of the Christian Democrats, the UDC, will have 36 while, horribly, the Lega Nord have a full 60 deputies. The southern/ Sicilian equivalent of the Northern seperatists (though politically considerably more moderate than the Lega) have taken 8 seats, to complete the PdL/Lega alliance.

In the Senate, Berlusconi's alliance will have 174 to just 132 for Veltroni. To these are added 3 UDC senators, 7 life senators and 6 others of one kind or another.

Of course, the PdL comprises within it not just Forza Italia but Alleanza Nazionale: this means that it covers a full spectrum of moderate centre-right through to outright "post"-fascists and ex-adherents of the MSI. People like Gianfranco Fini, who has been attacked by former allies for their excessive "moderation" (Fini denounced the Holocaust as an "absolute evil" produced by Fascism. The loony lefty.)

On the right, therefore, apart from Casini's UDC, the only people outside Berlusca's umbrella are the truly loony fringe parties, most notably La Destra, led by the somewhat toadlike and fantastically loathsome Francesco Storace. (Not to be confused, of course, with Starace who is wholly different. Honest.) Berlusconi is "centre-right" because here in Italy we do have real Fascists - La Destra, Movimento Sociale Fiamma Tricolore, Alessandra Mussolini's Azione Sociale (which is incidentally part of the PdL), Forza Nuova, Fronte Nazionale, Azione Giovane, must I go on? The casual accusations of "fascism" which are often bandied about in other countries don't wash here, and tend to annoy me.

Anyway, in better news (perhaps directly related to Berlusconi's rash decision to insult Totti) the PdL has done very poorly in the Roman mayoral race and in the provincial election. Though the PdL took the Lazio region overall, it was fairly close, and Romans have shown a strong preference for Veltroni, an unprecedentedly popular and successful mayor here. Both provincial and mayoral elections are going to a second round, since the PD has a 6 or 7 point lead at most, and the rules require a majority. But the signs are positive at least locally.

Anyway, ignoring the really crucial questions about Berlusconi, a reader asks whether he might "tackle some of the problems with Serie A (crumbling stadiums, low crowds, violence, lack of money)?"

Well, I haven't had a chance to ask him myself but my guess would be a big fat nooooooooo. Not least because most of the policies which appeal to governments on these issues are unlikely to actually work in practice, and because attention is only paid to the problem when someone dies. And also because I am plunged into profound gloom about what will happen over the next few years.


Garibaldy said...

How did the Party of Italian Communists do?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think it is going to take a Hillsborough-type tragedy for conditions to improve in football (soccer) stadiums.

I think there needs to be change in the Italian political system that no election could achieve.

First, I think Italy should go to a first past the post system in deciding elections in the Italian parliament. I think that this would reduce the influence of the extremist parties in Italy.

Second, I think Italy should go to a presidential system, which would help the government become more stable.

Third, both RAI and Mediaset should sell off some of their assets in order to allow more diversity in opinion.

As an American, I dislike Berescoli because his ownership of half the free-to-air tv stations in Italy which he can use to prop up his own image and his overtures to far-right parties.

Guido said...

Italians seems not to give a stuff about Berlusconi having TV stations. I think it is more of a 'good luck to him' situation.

Probably most Italians know that when they watch TV news on Canale Cinque they are getting a Berlusconi version, because of years they got the Christian Democrat version on Rai Uno, the Socialist version on Rai Due and the Communist version on Rai Tre.

There are two main results of thisn election. All direct descenants of the once mighty Communist Party will not have a seat for the first time. Also the Socialist Party, a party which once gave Italy a Prime Minister and was part of Italian political life since the 1970’s has also disappeared. Part of this is because the leader of the centre left Walter Veltroni decided to go it alone, rather than create a multi-party coalition. So the smaller parties got left out.

The other is the gains of the Northern League. It looks like some blue collar workers have switched from the left to the Lega.

chris c paul said...

Gloomy indeed. Entering in some kind of, if not coalition, then partnership, with the Northern League, does shift any party out of centre right territory and right into the far right. Policies like camps for workshy foreigners seem pretty extreme to me.

Politics have banked sharply tothe right in recent years. The centre right policies of Labour are Left, and the far right policies (not genocidially so but still far right) are described as centre right. Very sad.

Spangly Princess said...

For the first time ever, there will not be a single socialist or communist member of either house. An unprecedently catastrophic showing for both the parties of the Left (Partito Socialista & the Sinistra Arcobaleno Red/Green alliance of Rifondazione & the Verdi) means that there will be no deputy or senator from either group. They took roughly 1 & 3 % of the vote respectively.

The Partito Comunista degli Italiani poled about 0,6%, some 200,000 votes. Twice as many as Forza Nuova, if that's any consolation. And there were 3 other Communist-type parties (at least, parties using the hammer & sickle on their badge...)

chelsea boy said...

What a wonderful picture this is of my soon to be new home.

ursus arctos said...

The Bridge in the 70s was worse.

We're relying on you to turn it around again.

garibaldy said...

Cheers for the info. Shocked, and saddened.

Henry Ford said...

Maybe he'll die soon. Here's hoping.

Lee W said...

Chris C Paul -"Camps for workshy foreigners"?

Is this for real? If so it sounds very worrying and someone needs to tell Ronaldinho about this before he makes a move he's going to regret!

martinobhoy said...

Solution to low crowds in Serie A?

Free flights from Edinburgh to Pisa, flying out on a Friday night/Saturday morning and coming back on a Sunday evening. Oh and a free hotel room in Florence as well.

That would increase the crowd at the Artemio Franchi by one at least.

chris c paul said...

Lee- you may call me chris.

Yeah- he announced that he would like to see camps for out of work non EU citizens.

I read it in the Guardian so it must be true. Maybe.

"One of the things to do is to close the frontiers and set up more camps to identify foreign citizens who don't have jobs and are forced into a life of crime,"