Meanwhile in Italy

by Lorenzo Piccoli

Italy’s center-left demolished center-right Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition in all the administrative elections for the mayor of 16 major Italian municipalities, including Rome. The center-left candidate in Rome, former surgeon Ignazio Marino, took 64 percent of votes in a run-off ballot on Sunday and Monday, defeating the center-right incumbent Gianni Alemanno, whose victory, five years ago, was a moment I can barely forget as it was greeted by crowds of supporters, among them far right skinheads, who chanted “Duce! Duce!” and raised their arms in a fascist salute.

The victory of center-left Partito Democratico comes as a surprise. The party performed disastrously at the last political elections and has virtually imploded afterwards. However, those national representatives who are now taking credit for this victory seem to forget that there is huge difference in local and national elections and in people’s perception of local vs national representatives.

And, by the way, this latter category, including former secretary Pierluigi Bersani and all his trustees, should very much bear in mind that it has spectacularly failed in front of its national supporters and this will not go away with an electoral victory, although significant, in 16 municipalities.