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“We Defeated Berlusconi”

(the Refounded Communist Party) of Italy “We Defeated Berlusconi”

By RIFUNDAZIONE

A very important step has been made: we defeated Berlusconi. Now we intend to rule Italy towards a change and to help the rise of a new political subject of the alternative left in Italy, which is now stronger after this election outcome and commits us to building an Italian EL section.

The result of our party is excellent: Rifondazione has increased its votes everywhere, both in percentage and in absolute votes: from 5% achieved at the 2001 election to 5.8% at the Chamber of Deputies or lower house (from 1,867,712 votes to 2,229,604) and 7.4% at the Senate, the upper house (from 1,707,175 to 2,518,624). 41 MPs will represent our party at the lower house (instead of 11) and 27 senators at the Senate (instead of 3). This is the largest parliamentary representation ever achieved by Rifondazione. We are moreover the second-largest party at the lower house and the third-largest one at the Senate within the Union coalition.

On last 9 and 10 April elections for the lower house and the upper house (for voters over 25) took place with about 47 million Italians eligible to vote.

Under new election rules introduced in December, at the lower house each party is able to elect a certain number of MPs depending on the amount of votes it takes according to proportional representation (PR). But the new system favours party coalitions, so that parties belonging to a coalition have to get more at least 2% of the vote to be represented at the parliament. Moreover, the winning coalition is automatically granted a so-called “majority award”, that is a minimum 340 of the 630 seats for a commanding majority. For the Senate the new rules are still a PR system, but the number of senators (for a total amount equal to 315) allocated to parties depends on the vote reported in each single Italian region and a regional “majority award”.

Furthermore, for the first time Italians residing abroad (about 1 million) had the possibility to cast their ballot in Italian consulates, representing six Senate seats and twelve deputies for the lower house. Polls and a large majority of people predicted that the centre-left coalition, L’Unione (the Union), led by Romano Prodi, was due to win easily over Berlusconi’s ruling right coalition, Casa delle Libertà or House of Freedoms. After a long counting night, where the vote seemed to contradict what polls had predicted, there came a very close victory: the Union won over the centre-right coalition in the Senate thanks to the votes cast by the Italians abroad (4 senators for the Union, 1 for the right coalition, one independent, who has declared he will support the winning coalition). So, in spite of a majority of votes for the right coalition, the Union is granted a Senate’s majority of 159 to 156 seats allocated to the House of Freedom.

The situation at the lower house has been clearer and favourable for the Union, although the centre-left won for 49,8 to 49,7 by a very small margin equal to 25,000 votes. However, the Union now has a majority of 340 enabling it to rule the country, according to the programme the coalition parties wrote together.

During the next few weeks the MPs’ agenda will include the installation of the new parliament which is to elect a new president of the republic, and finally, the new government has to be formed.

We will support a government with Romano Prodi as a prime minister and our party will take part in it.