Monday, 14 April 2008

exit polls

Italian polls closed at 15.00. Early indicators are that Berlusconi's Popolo della Libertà have a 2-3 point lead over Veltroni's Partito Democratico. hmm. Enough to win, not enough to govern easily, especially in the Senate. So more of the same then.

17 comments:

chris c paul said...

I actually quite like the Italian system of democracy. Broadly representative, prone to collapse, and while surely the trains still don't run on time all the time (or the litter get collected) it still manages to be one of the nicest countries on the planet. Britain on the other hand has had a lot of strong leaders/governments and still manages to be a shithole, mostly. I have never lived in Itlay though, so stand to be corrected.

Shame at about Berlesconi, again, but at least he'll have have his hands tied. Mind you, we have heard that kind of sentiment before...

ursus arctos said...

It is beginning to look as if the exit polls understimated Silvio's strength, with the early sets of projections based on actual results now giving him a larger lead in the Senate. I seem to recall there having been a similar "sampling bias" last time, with the exit polls giving Prodi a larger lead than he ended up with.

As to Chris' point, I very much believe that it makes quite a bit of difference if one actually lives and works here. Particularly if one is not a EU national.

Spangly Princess said...

Indeed, the picture worsens.

and as Ursus says, it makes a lot of difference when you live here. Italian democracy is profoundly flawed, riddled with corruption & bureaucracy and makes living in this country a whole lot less pleasant than it ought to be.

though I can't comment on the non- EU national issue myself.

TrentToffee said...

I heard a mind blowing stat the other day. Apparently at the last election the voter turnout was 84%. All credit to the Italian citizen. That makes it all the more dispiriting that they can't elect a government capable of governing.

NickLazio1900 said...

Italian voter turnout is amazingly high, also bearing in mind that it isn't compulsory.

Italian post-war governments have been and are weak by design. This is something that one needs to bear in mind when discussing their relative instability.

Spangly Princess said...

Apathy is one issue we don't have here, I have to say. The number of marches, public meetings, rallies etc which are held each year, with a considerable turnout, is astonishing. This year's 80,4% turnout is a definite drop on previous turnouts.

chris c paul said...

My partner is from outside fortress europe so I know life indeed can be tricky. What problems were you refering to Ursus?

She lived in Italy for years and prefers it to the UK.

Also- how much can the problems of corrupton, bureacracy, parliament food fights, the north south divide, be directly attributable to the Italian version of PR?

Big questions. I should read more books, sorry.

ursus arctos said...

Mostly bureaucratic nonsense of various sorts, Chris. All of those various pieces of official permission that one needs to live, work, pay taxes, open a bank account, qualify for health care or school, own property, etc.

EU citizens are by virtue of being such exempt from the most intrusive, burdensome and nonsenical of these rules, and much less likely to be asked by the police or other authorities to produce documentation attesting to their right to be in the country.

Of course, my family (being white and relatively well off) suffers significantly less from this kind of thing than people of colour or the poor, but that doesn't mean that the existence of such things doesn't grate.

And given that Silvio owes his victory to the xenophobic separatists of the Lega Nord, one can be certain that life for all of us "extracomunitari" here is going to get worse before it gets better.

Lee W said...

Its the idea of an elected politician holding such an unhealthy monopoly of a nations media that I find truly terrifying. Imagine having Rupert Murdoch as PM.

Its hard to know which is the more powerful, the state or the media - but when one lacks indpendence from the other...

ursus arctos said...

It's a very serious issue, and I can assure you that Berlusconi's control of the most popular private television stations here (and his continuing influence on some of the publice ones) definitely contributed to his victory.

BTW, I just discovered your blog, which looks extremely interesting. Despite living in Milan, I happen to be a Barca socio, so if you see a bear showing up in comments, you'll know how he got there.

Spangly Princess said...

Benvenuto, Lee. As Ursus says, it is hugely important, and it's no coincidence that Italy comes so low on the world press freedom rankings - the lowest in Europe, or close to it.

and of course it's not only the media empire but the ownership of other important companies, not exclusing AC Milan. There is still a residual clientelism here where people often vote for their boss - and Berlusconi is a lot of people's boss.

ursus arctos said...

Which provides a perfect opening for the rather amazing anecdote that Silvio spent part of yesterday meeting with none other than Ronaldinho's brother, and claims to have been given an autographed Barca shirt with a special message.

And clientelism can be seen as the nasty flip side of the turnout numbers. The fact that the authorities had to ban camera phones from the polling places this time around demonstrates that expecting some kind of reward for "proof" that one voted the "right" way is not just something one reads about in history books.

Spangly Princess said...

indeed. the varios mafias - Cosa Nostra, the 'Ndrangheta, the camorra - have all dealt extensively in vote trading in the past, for everything from cash to footwear (left shoe before the election, right shoe afterwards when you bring back proof of your vote, they used to offer).

But of course there's plenty of non-criminal vote manipulation, as the clientelist aspects show.

Lee W said...

This is a very interesting topic Spangly - I'm actually learning stuff - whoever it was who said "The Internet is a shallow and unreliable electronic repository of dirty pictures, inaccurate rumors, bad spelling and worse grammar, inhabited largely by people with no demonstrable social skills" clearly hadn't been here before. And you gus like football too: I'm in heaven.

On the subject of Italy, I'll be honest in as much that my knowledge stems from a week spent in Rome - but there's something I'd love to hear your opnions on spangly and Ursus.

I'm based in Spain and there is a veru strong sense of community and civic pride in evidence here. I may be very wrong, but in the short time I spent in Italy that spirit felt notable absent. I think it was exaggerated, for me at least , because I was expecting it to feel like Spain: southern european and Latin - and made a huge generalisation.
Yet I was left with the impression that there was something rotten something decaying that I couldn't put my finger on. A sense that people were so disillusioned with the state that they had abandoned trying to make their communities nicer places to live.

Dont get me wrong, I loved Rome and aim to spend more time there - but something felt ...I don't know...wrong, neglected.

Thanks for the welcome Spangly and vheers for looking at my site Ursus (I'm a socio to but try to keep the site neutral)

chris c paul said...

Berlesconi's overtures to the Northern League have depressed me intensely. and that he is presented as a man of the "centre right" is a shocker too. What policies do you need to have to be seen as far right these days?

Richard said...

Is there any likelihood that Berlusconi will try to tackle some of the problems with Serie A (crumbling stadiums, low crowds, violence, lack of money)?

I'm guessing that 'no' is the likely answer.

NickLazio1900 said...

"It's a very serious issue, and I can assure you that Berlusconi's control of the most popular private television stations here (and his continuing influence on some of the publice ones) definitely contributed to his victory."
Would you care to qualify this statement? Then what happened in '96 and '06 when he *lost* elections, not to mention the victories and setbacks in local and European elections since he has been on the political scene?