FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Berlusconi Defeated

by STEVE SHORE

Italy has survived a brutal campaign with a new government of the left. In a turnout that Americans can only dream of, almost 84 percent of the electorate, for the first time including Italians living abroad throughout the world, has demonstrated what happens in a democracy. Split nearly — but not quite — equally, the popular vote exceeding even the 2001 national elections, the center-left coalition headed by Romano Prodi has displaced the ruling right wing coalition of Silvio Berlusconi by a slim 0.1% of the vote. The premier immediately went on the attack, stating “The result must change”–notice carefully the language, not “might”–and accused the left of massive election fraud. But Italy isn’t Florida and there are no hanging chads.

The Interior Ministry a few days ago retracted the initial, mistaken, report of many tens of thousands of improper and disputed ballots, now saying there are, at most, about 6000 (about 2500 in the Camera and 3500 in the Senate votes–these were separate votes and tallies) and these are only to be certified by the magistrates and the matter will be closed. It is not even within 10% of the number needed to change the balance of power. It would seem the election is secure and the Unione has won.

But Berlusconi, ever the “Master of the Big Lie,” continues to play his cards in the only safe place, the media he owns, and even his disgraced and dismissed former Northern League minister Calderoni has reiterated the assertion that upwards of 40 thousand votes are in dispute, a drop in the bucket to the millions according to the premier, and they have demanded a recount. Usually, during the election, Berlusconi’s ofhand remarks have been simply foolish, but he isn’t funny this time: Berlusconi has openly threatened to bring down the government, to make it impossible for anything to move in a divided Senate (even if the left now has the clear majority in the Chamber of Deputies, in the Camera it is three votes short of an absolute majority in the Senate and both houses must approve any proposal before it becomes law).

This is a direct threat, the declaration not only of a stalemate but an open war against the half of the country that sent him packing. His party, Forza Italia, gained only 23.7% of the vote compared to the Unione coalition that achieved a vote of 31.3%. The two communist parties combined won more than the Christian Democrats–oops, the UDC–who are the survivors of the former dominant party of Italian politics before being toppled by the political scandals of the 1980s; the only reason Berlusconi is even close in the Senate is the 13 seats won by the Europhobic racist crazies from the Northern League. The margin of victory, in a genuinely sweet irony, came from the foreign vote–the very group included for the first time in the Senate elections by the action of this government.

One has to ask why? Is this just the simple incapacity of a defeated politician to accept that his party has lost? Hardly. This isn’t a war of ideology, not from a government that’s opened its arms to the worst elements of Italian political life and that has accepted the cries of “Duce” from the crowd.

Once out of power Berlusconi will be vulnerable, politically and legally, to everything from which his immunity as President of the Council has protected him.

I can only imagine that the magistrates, who as a professional group have been continually insulted and frustrated, and who have sustained repeated attempts to restrict their independence and impartiality by the (formerly) majority government, want to come down on this politico like a ton of bricks.

Even with all the bravado — not calling Prodi to congratulate him on his victory and behaving like a barbarian in the press and in rallies — Berlusconi cannot change the outcome but can threaten its stability and success. Remember, this is the same politician who claimed to have done more for Italy than anyone since Napoleon, who compared himself to Jesus, and who promised to resign from politics and disappear if not elected.

All that is in the past. It’s enough to satisfy his aims to threaten continued instability of the country. A democracy is a terrible thing to waste!

STEVE SHORE is an American physicist at a research institute in Italy.

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail