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Italian opposition has a new leader, maybe.

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What happened in Italy last week deserves one or two words: the Democratic Party, the main opposition Party in my country has died and rose again with a new leader, Dario Franceschini.

The former leader, Walter Veltroni resigned after the Waterloo of Sardinia’s regional elections: in the island, the former Governor Renato Soru lost to Mr. Cappellacci after a campaign where he had been left alone by the Democrats, while his opponennt was campaigning with Mr. Berlusconi. This led the former candidate Prime Minister to resign after 16 months of leadership. That’s why the National Assembly (a sort of National Committee) elected Franceschini as the new leader of the party.

Why is that so interesting?

First of all because Italy, now, in facing a great deficit of democracy: in my country, the Prime Minister is a sort of Rupert Murdoch in 1:43 scale. Can you imagine the Aussie media tycoon as the Australian Prime Minister? And, what’s more scary, is that, step by step, spaces of democracy are disappearing without a credible and reliable opposition.

Did you know that soldiers are patrolling Italy’s main cities? We are not talking about a kind of National Guard. We are talking about a professional military staff: it’s like if a regiment of US Marines were patrolling Chicago’s streets. And did you know that the Italian government is about to promote rounds run by civilians against street crimes? This particular could be not so important to a non Italian reader. But, in my opinion, the sinister particular is that the last time we had such a phenomenon was under the fascism and organized by a special sector of the Fascist Party: the MVSN. This organization not only went patrolling the streets, but it was useful to keep opposition silent and obedient. The problem is that in 1922 there had been an opposition, today I’m not sure we have it.

Going toward Putin’s Russia?

I’m not sure, but, without any opposition this is more than an option. Mr. Franceschini told about a new shape of authoritarianism which Berlusconi is building up. But Mr. Berlusconi’s responsabilty has to be shared also by the opposition leaders who made no opposition during this one year and half of center right government. The Democratic party is estimated to be at 24% of the electorate, falling from the 34% of tha last general elections. Franceschini is the new leader and the only hope to save the main center left party in Europe. The hope to keep alive the ever since fragile Italian depends on the capcity of the opposition leaders to stay united, not to dig each other the grave.

Written by Francesco Piccinelli Casagrande

02/22/2009 at 9:44 am