Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Italian Election Debacle

Since I’m the Warren’s resident Italian election expert, I am performing my duty for all those who actually care what happens in Italia. Every five years, the Italy has a general election for the Prime Minister. Italy also has a president, but his office is mostly ceremonial. The Prime Minister is chosen by which side (the left or the right) wins the greatest percentage of the vote in the Senato and the lower chamber of Parliament. Usually, the winning side wins both the Senato and the lower chamber, but it looks like this year, the sides will be split with Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition wining the Senato and Prodi’s left-wing coalition winning the lower chamber of Parliament. The Italian constitution says that if neither party can form a government that both sides can live with, the whole mess gets dropped on the president’s lap to choose. The president has indicated that he would likely chose someone from the party who controls the lower chamber of parliament since you have to be 18 to vote for the lower chamber of parliament and 25 to vote for the Senato.

The margins of victory however at this time are so razor thin, that it looks like Italy will be going thru their version of the 2000 Election’s Florida recount including ballot problems. I heard on Italian radio that only 25,000 votes separate Prodi from Berlusconi in the lower chamber at this moment but there were 500,000 ballots that were excluded due to voting problems. All during the last week, there were commercials on TV instructing people how to vote and what not to do, but apparently, not everyone got the message. Berlusconi leads Prodi by one seat in the Senato, but there are six seats that are undecided at this time.

So, what happens if Prodi eventually wins? Prodi is another left-wing European bureaucrat who has the European Union flag tattoo on his chest. His idea of fixing a problem is throwing money at it and taxing "the rich". Berlusconi abolished the inheritance tax when he came to power and Prodi has said he will re-instate it, but only for "the rich" which is lefty-speak for everyone. Expect Italy to stop being Bush’s lapdog (as alleged by the anti-Iraqi war crowd) and start becoming France’s bootlicking poodle (A ma botte!).

If the Great El-ahrairah had the chance to vote, I would have voted for Berlusconi. At least he knows what drives the economy of a country. My sainted wife was supposed to vote, but didn’t for some reason. With the election so close, if Prodi wins, I’ll blame my wife and make her call to congratulate her cousin and his wife who are hard-core Prodi supporters and who also suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome (because Bush is to blame for everything). Needless to say, we don’t talk politics too much around when they are around.


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