08 April 2008


Election Day Italian style

This weekend is election time for Italy, they will be voting for candidates for Prime Minister and the parliament from up to fifteen different parties. These include at least two communist parties, two parties who verge on being fascist and a variety of groups in between these extremes. And Americans thought they lived in the land of “choice”.

The election here spans two days, all day on Sunday the 13th and half the day on Monday the 14th. This sure makes more sense to me than the American system of one working day only. This might be one of the many reasons why a higher percentage of Italians vote than Americans.

This election was called for when Prime Minister Prodi’s government collapsed several months ago, there has been no long drawn-out primary and campaign fund gathering season. There are six leading candidates for Prima Minister with the ever present Silvio Berlusconi of the newly formed Popolo della Liberta party and his two main contenders; the mayor of Roma - Walter Veltroni of the Partito Democratico and Pier Casini of the Unione di Centro.

The newspapers have relegated their American primary coverage to the back pages while their own political contest approaches. Special boards have been set up in public areas where the parties can plaster their posters. The major parties have also set-up temporary offices in empty store-fronts around the centro storico of Ascoli Piceno and our building’s mail slot has been overflowing with political fliers. The newspapers are full of political ads and we have heard a couple vehicles driving around town with loudspeakers blaring with candidate ads.

The results of the election should be known by Tuesday and the new government in effect by the end of the month. Many of our local friends tell us that they think that no matter who wins, Italian politics will still be the same.

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