In Italy’s political pigsty

One does not expect to be confronted by the European elections while walking towards the Piazza dell’Esquilino in Rome, with the apse of Santa Maria Maggiore in view. But Italy is full of surprises. And the poster is the kind of political art that stops the passerby and demands to be photographed.

Pork, Italian style

Pork, Italian style. Photo by Eamonn Fitzgerald

So what’s going on here? What’s the porcata (mess)? Well, a referendum on reforming Italian electoral law is planned for June. If it succeeds, it could turn Italian politics into a two-party system. This is the great hope of the centre-left Partito Democratico, which dreams of splitting the centre-right opposition. Because the referendum needs a turnout of more than 50 percent of eligible voters to be valid, the date is critical. And this is where the European Parliamentary elections enter the picture. On 6–7 June (when Italians will elect MEPs and a number of provincial and municipal administrations), turnout is expected to be high, suggesting that this would be the ideal time to hold the referendum.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has stated that he likes the money-saving idea of combining the elections (especially after the Abruzzo earthquake and because of the financial crisis), but his Il Popolo della Libertà party has not committed to a date and the suspicion is that it is angling for 21–22 June, when the second round of the provincial and municipal elections is scheduled. The problem with this solution, though, is that people will be suffering from voting fatigue and thoughts of escaping the heat and getting a nice spot on the beach will be more on their minds than reforming the country’s electoral laws. Low turnout, in other words. Unsuccessful referendum, in other words.

And the €400 million? That’s the amount of public money it would cost to run the referendum at the later date, say its proponents, who also happen to be Berlusconi opponents. Great poster, though.

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4 Responses to “In Italy’s political pigsty”

  1. Andrei Tuch Andrei Tuch says:

    Heh. At first glance it looks like a poster about subsidies for pork producers.

    Nice piggie…

  2. Woo hoo! If I’m not mistaken, you’ve spotted Italy’s first EU election poster! And it’s all about… national politics.

    Hehe, well - can’t complain! At least “Elezioni Europee” is mentioned!

  3. The next election in his country will probably not be in favour of Berlusconi so he’d better enjoy the live with all it’s benefits while it lasts. Seems like this is what Berlusconi is doing at the moment anyway!

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