Dr. Dawg

A taste of Italian politics

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Italy has just had its first round of municipal voting, and in a few days the ballottaggi (run-offs) will take place.

Unlike Canada, Italy sees the full involvement of federal parties in municipal campaigns. Two candidates are now in the running for the mayor of Milan: a fairly mild left-winger, Giuliano Pisapia, who was rather more left-wing in his youth, and incumbent Letizia Moratti, the candidate of Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s party (PDL). She has the support of the Right in general, including the extremist Lega Nord.

Things are hopping in Milan, as the above illustration indicates. The poster on the left warns that electing Pisapia will lead to a “Gypsy city,” with more nomad camps and the biggest mosque in Europe. The other one, from the Pisapia camp, merely asks voters to ignore lies and false promises, and elect him as mayor.

Italians are getting a little weary of Berlusconi at the moment, and Pisapia shocked some of the pundits by pulling off 48% of the vote in the initial ballot, to Moratti’s 41.6%.

The contest has been no-holds-barred from the start. Before the first ballot, Moratti denounced Pisapia as a “car thief” during the closing seconds of a debate, knowing he would not be able to respond. (This was in reference to a disputed incident 33 years ago, now considered to have been a judicial error.) Moratti is now facing a substantial slander suit in addition to her precarious electoral future.

Berlusconi himself has leaped into the fray. The Milan election was supposed to be a vote of confidence in him and his party, and has proved so far to be anything but. The offensive poster in the illustration above is Lega Nord, but Berlusco0ni has now heartily endorsed the same extreme positions.

In his own words:

Milan cannot, on the eve of Expo 2015, become an Islamic city, a Gypsy city full of Rom camps, besieged by foreigners to whom the left wants to give the right to vote. On Sunday [when the runoff balloting begins] there is an important choice to be made for the future of our city and for all of us. Milan has a history as one of the most important cities in Europe, renowned for intelligence, creativity and entrepreneurship. This isn’t a city we want to consign to the far left, with the risk of becoming a disorderly city, chaotic and unsafe. I know that you are sound, pragmatic, sensible people, and it should be easy for you to choose between what the centre-right has done, and the risky, risky program of the left supported by social assistance centres and the extremist fringes. For us it’s not a priority to build a mosque, to have social assistance centres posing as artistic and creative residences: we don’t want to see the streets full of red flags and the hammer and sickle again, to have a mayor who’s been said to have coffee every day in the social assistance centres, to choose a person who wants to make Milan the Stalingrad of Italy.

Whew. Think of Ezra Levant as the Prime Minister of Canada minus the girls.

A commentator on TV last night, referring to the fearmongering, bluntly asked a Berlusconi spokeswoman, “Do they think we’re stupid?” Not being all that bright herself, she didn’t have much of a response. But knowing my history, I hope Milan does become a kind of Stalingrad this weekend—the city that stands up and finally stops the advance of berlusconismo in its tracks.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on May 24, 2011 1:58 PM.

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