I assume that most of you don’t follow Italian politics. I also assume that most of you have heard in some way about our Prime Minister, Mr. Berlusconi, and his Bunga Bunga party. So you might wonder why on earth am I proud. Well it seems that finally, after almost 20 years, we are voting him out of parliament.
It is not as simple as just voting him out as in Italy we don’t vote directly for our PM or President, plus he is not up for reelection for another couple of years. However, 2 weeks ago we had midterm elections in some of the major Italian cities, including Milan and Berlusconi’s party lost in all those cities. More importantly he lost Milan. Milan is one of the stronghold of the right parties in Italy and is usually particularly friendly to Berlusconi who is a native of Milan, owns AC Milan (the soccer team), and started his tycoon career as well as his politician career in Milan. In Milan, not only the MP’s candidate was not elected as major, but also Berlusconi personally got about half the preferences he got in the previous elections.
This last weekend we also voted on 4 referendums (2 about privatizing water, 1 about nuclear energy and 1 about a norm that allows Berlusconi not to appear at his trials). While only one of the referendums is directly against Berlusconi, in the past few months the referendums (which in my modest opinion are pretty much useless) took a very strong political connotation. The mood was pretty much voting at the referendum was like voting against Berlusconi and his ruling party. In Italy referendums are valid only if at least 50% of voters show up to vote, which means that usually referendums are not valid (the ones opposed to the referendums don’t go voting which summed with the usual no shows means the majority of voters don’t vote). This time more than 57% of voters showed up. And the referendums where all approved with a large majority (above 95%) which means that net more than 50% of Italian total voters supported the referendums.
I am not saying that Berlusconi is finished, because he has gone through rough patches before, but it is comforting to see that something is finally changing!
Now to the salad….