Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tony's Pal Fails to Get Re-Elected

Tony will be disappointed this morning. His buddy Berlusconi has narrowly failed to get re-elected.
In the Chamber of Deputies the Unione won 49.8% of the vote and 341 seats. The House of Freedom won 49.7% of the vote and 277 seats.
In the Senate the Unione won 49.95% of the vote and 154 seats, and the House of Freedom 50.21% of the vote and 156 seats.
The “House of Freedom” won a greater share of the vote in the Senate elections (50.21% compared to 49.95% for the Unione) but these seats are awarded based on regional results rather than national percenages of the vote.
The Unione is a coalition of social-democrats, Communists, Eurocommunists and Greens. The House is a coalition of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance) led by the Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, and the Lega Nord (Northern League) led by Umberto Bossi. The Alternativa Sociale (Social Alternative) a grouping of common-or-garden fascists is also part of the “House of Freedom” but they failed to win any seats. The National Alliance is “post-fascist” and Fini apparently works hard trying to present himself as an ordinary Conservative . Tony Barber in the Financial Times says Fini's views are "far more enlightened than those of his party's base" (12/4/06). (I’m not sure what a post-fascist is: a fascist with a lap-top? a fascist in a suit? one that doesn’t shave his head?). Prodi’s victory is obviously very narrow. If he were to undertake what the Financial Times calls “structural reform measures” he could easily find his left flank exposed. The Rifondazione Comunista (Communist Refoundation) party has 41 Deputies and 27 Senators, and is likely to resist market-driven reforms (and Prodi will be alert to what has just happened in France). This could mean trouble for Prodi in the future and could give the right an opening. Still, for the moment, it is time – as Thatcher might have said – to rejoice, even if they are crying into their soup in Downing Street. Although rejoicing should perhaps be tempered by the thought that it may be weeks before Prodi takes office. The President, Carlo Azeglio Ciampo, ends his seven-year term of office on May 18 and wants his successor to appoint the new Prime Minister. (Berlusconi will remain Prime Minister until then and will doubtless cause all sorts of mischief. Already the old fraud is refusing to concede defeat, and has even - with, one hopes, typical hyperbole - spoken of Italy being close to "civil war"). It says a great deal about Tony Blair - his worship of money and contempt for his own party and its values - that he should have chosen to consort so intimately and openly with Berlusconi.


Post a Comment

<< Home