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Political situation in Italy, as seen by a foreigner 
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Post Political situation in Italy, as seen by a foreigner

I'm opening this topic in order to see what foreign people think about my country. I'm not saying aything, at least for the moment. I'm just curious to know how you perceive what's going on here in Italy, and what you think about it.

We could also use the topic to discuss other countries' political situation. Sometimes, the best way to understand what's going on in the place where you live is asking someone who lives somewhere else.

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Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:59 pm
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The last few things I recall is the fights between Berlusconi, who had arranged all the things for his future prime ministership and Prodi, who has won the elections. Otherwise I've somwehere heard that Italy spends approx. the same money on its public administration as do France and Great Britain together, but it can be not reliable at all - however, it is possible to conclude a lack of transparency, troubles with corruption and crime. And then I've noticed the economic difference between the north and south, which, at least in part, meets the ethno-separatist movements in the north... A particular issue I'm curious about is ENEL, which is quite a case that would need some EU assistance to handle (and I hope the EU would finally show it has the guts to start cleaning up at least the few important things)...
And don't worry, speaking of politics, we're all in the same mess. :p But indeed, what I feel is that current Italy doesn't seem like a good place to be, from a political perspective.
But I guess you're maybe refering to something more particular, so maybe you should ask about more concrete things?

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Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:49 pm
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Well, the government has recently (a couple of days ago, indeed) fallen. We no longer have a prime minister and we're discussing whether to vote for a new one or to elect a "technical government", chosen by both left and right. The TG would stay in charge for some two or three months to write a new electoral law, because thanks to the old one we were not able to have a strong majority in the Senate. And that made the country almost ungovernable.
The government fell because our Minister of Justice left the government. And you know why? Because he and his wife were put under investigation, being charged for corruption and concussion and stuff like that. And he felt that the judges attacked him for political reasons, and said that the investigation was only a political decision.

Do you get the irony?

And now, we're about to experience a new Berlusconi government.
We're about to leave the civilized world to enter a new Middle Age! \m/\m/

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Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:43 am
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Oh yes, got it completely. This really seems sucky.
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The TG would stay in charge for some two or three months to write a new electoral law, because thanks to the old one we were not able to have a strong majority in the Senate.

Mhhmm... this seems like an opportunity, however I guess, there's barely anything posiive to be expected, right?
Guess I'll have to look for some more detailed info on the case.

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Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:55 am
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I think the electoral system in Italy needs to change. Since the end of WWII there have been about 60 changes of government & the lack of stability is a big problem. As you already mentioned, the lack of a strong Senate majority leads to fragile government.

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Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:00 pm
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It has always amazed me that, like the previous poster said, there has been 60 changes in gouverment. Maybe it is time for a change in the electoral (did I spel that right?) system in Italy, I believe there was already talk of that.
I think that politicians mix state affairs to much with personal gain, ofcourse that happens everywhere, I just think it happens on a bigger scale in Italy. I believe it was Napels that have the garbage probleem?

When i saw the images on TV of all the garbage on the street it reminded me of a banana republic.

Also the rise of the extreme right (throughout europe) worries me.

I also think the Dutch gouverment is becoming way to rightwing

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Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:52 pm
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Bloody Savages.


Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:01 am
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This is starting to get funny, anyway. There were certain discussions in Czech Republic about adopting the Italian electoral law (or an Italian-inspired one), since the last elections resulted in both of the political blocks having exactly 100 seats in the parliament, which ended up in a 3-month (or so) crisis preceeding the formation of the current government, which ended up being too weak to really do things. So the proposition was to adopt this rule where the winning party would get an extra 5% to the number of votes to have a majority... A similiar thing was a proposition to change the number of deputies to 201. (Seriously, 199 would be a far better number for most of the legislative operations, morons!)

I recall some statement by a political scientist I've once read, stating something in the sense that politicians would not seek to improve the transparency of the system unless they are threatened by being depraved of their power. I think in the particular case of Berlusconi, this might be one of the most threatening things, since he seems to have quite a big public support. Here I'd perhaps like to ask you italian guys why is that? I know he has a strong media background and thus support, but I don't see this as a sufficient explanation.

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Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:51 am
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He's the perfect example of how the average Italian would like to be.
A self-made man who grew richer richer thanks to the mafia and a large extent of economic frauds. A person who states "if you feel taxes are uneven, you have the right not to pay them". A dishonest yet smart man who loves to break rules instead of following them, who thinks that "freedom" means "I can do whatever I want regardless of what the law says".
If you want a stupid, yet metaphorical example, the average Italian is he who drives on the emergency lane when there's a queue because he doesn't want to be ten minutes late. That's why Berlusconi charms so many Italians: he's smart and dishonest, yet he always gets away with it, making it look like he did something incredibily intelligent and praiseworthy.

Of course it's important to mention the fact that he controls the three major private TVs in Italy, the most important publishing house and, in the end, a huge percentage of the media. So it wasn't hard for him to make his government look like he did something extraordinary, and Prodi's one to be the worst of our recent history (which, by the way, isn't absolutely the case here).

Last but not least, the leftwing here in Italy is fragmented, being composed by communists, ultra-catholics, liberals and whatever, making the government which just fell look like a cocktail of incompatible ideologies and ideas. Berlusconi's way to politics is easier to understand for the largest part of the people in my country, his motto being "we are free to do whatever we want, we will all be richer and happier, no matter how".

Yeah, it's discomforting.

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Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:14 pm
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Von, you forgot to add that he always talks about Communist menace. our left wing politicians (which are very, very, very democratic) lare surely NOT like Stalin, but he always compare them to the russian leader.
so, if you're not skilled and have a brain killed by cocaine, TV, reality shows and Soccer you'll surely vote for Berlusconi, the ultimate liberal and demopcratic people thas will do anything to free us from the communist menace.

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Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:46 am
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Well, I tend to call the "socialist" development in Central and Eastern Europe rather as "mismanaged capitalism". I think Marx, Engels or Gramsci would have been laughing their asses off in their graves on how badly it got screwed. Communism was meant as an alternative, not as a reproduction of a number of capitalist principles, which had allowed the regime survive.
But such rhetoric that anything communist is necessarily wrong is a nice example of how do for example the christian democrats gain voters here.

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Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:01 am
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I have the idea that in Italy every political party has some representation in the parliament, in contraposition to countries that have only two important parties or coalitions, like happens in the USA or in my own. The positive side of the Italian system would be that it's seems really democratic, I mean, if I create a party whose only goal is to legalize drugs I can have some senator representing me if I have some minimal support, but on the other hand the parlament can become by times kind of anarchic and chaotic... Am I right?


Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:43 pm
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Yeah, but then again having more than 2 major parties doesn't necessarily mean instability as is the case in the Nordic countries for example.


Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:14 pm
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I don't necessarily mean two major parties, there can be coalitions of different parties. Anyway, I don't really know the political system of the nordic countries, but they're usually known for their political order, something that cannot be said about Italy. There can be many political systems but is the culture of every country what at last matters.


Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:59 am
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I wish I knew more about your country politically other then the high level of corruption...

That being said, I love Italy. I love its history, its language, its food, and its people. I visited last summer for 16 days with my highschool and had the time of my life. I can't wait until I have the money to go back and really attempt to learn the language.

I'm only half Italian but I identify with that part of me more then my German or Polish ancestry.


Tue May 13, 2008 10:40 pm
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Times're gonna be hard for us here, at least so it seems.
Pray for us all!

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Tue May 20, 2008 2:29 pm
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Von wrote:
Times're gonna be hard for us here, at least so it seems.
Pray for us all!


I guess I'll go to live abroad... ???

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Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:00 am
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Wow, I understand Berlusconi is a populist dickhead with absolutely no capacity to govern a state, but what happened you guys sound it's so bad?
EDIT: Apart from the loss in football, ofc. ???

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Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:48 pm
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Apart from the most well-known stuff, like ad personam laws made by his government just to save their own asses, and apart from the opposition being a bunch of self-indulgent idiots, more interested in whining about how bad is Berlusconi than in trying to convince people to vote for them 'cause they have a better program, and apart from having a right-wing party who tries the way of protectionism and a left-wing party composed almost only by upper-class people who have no idea of what the actual problems are and are more interested in yelling "communism, communism!" than in investing time and thoughts in real politics for the lower classes?
Nothing! :D

Just to let you know something hilarious I heard yesterday. A politician from UDC (a strictly catholic and moderate party) presented a request to the Parliament, asking that investigations be made about the sociological phenomenon called "emo". These youngsters tribe is, in his words, a dangerous bunch of guys taking inspiration from punk-hardcore music and focusing theirselves on self-mutilations, autolesionistic acts and (this is the real masterpiece) "suicide as a way to be admitted in the tribe". He made reference to a website called "Nonciclopedia", and I think you can guess the meaning of the word. It's a humourous, satyrical website which deals in various subjects in a funny, sarcastical way. Something like a funny version of Wikipedia. And he quoted it as a reference, stating that it is a serious and dangerous website, asking that it be obscured by the Authority for the Communications.
Just for the records, here's the official act, taken by the official website of the Chamber of Deputees.

This is just a funny example, yet it is meaningful. Politicians in Italy try to convey population's attention in trivial, scandalistic themes, just to drag away the attention from what really matters. For example the fact that 90% of the votes for Berlusconi come from people who are happy with him 'cause one of his mottos is "if taxes are too high you should not pay them" and stuff like that.
And what's worse is that he calls himself a libertarian, 'cause I guess he thinks the real meaning of the word is "free to do whatever the fuck I want", thus insulting real liberism and stuff.

Oh, and I didn't mention the problem we have with the Church, according to which up to three months ago everything was going wrong and we were heading towards certain death, and now everything's fine thanks to the new majority who's in charge. Which, by the way, is thinking about making abortion illegal, or to criminalize prostitution all the more because it is "morally dangerous for the society".

You know, I could go on and on for pages and pages but I'll stop here.
The problem is simple: we do not have a competent political class. Neither in majority nor in opposition.
We should slay 'em all and rebuild again from ground zero \m/

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Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:35 pm
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You know what the worst thing is? I'm no communist, I believe in liberism in economic matters and I would support (and vote for) a true right-wing party, where "right-wing" means "liberism and a totally free market". Yet, "right-wing" in Italy means "rich people trying to preserve their privileges", and you can see it because we do not have a true free market, but a hybrid which favours the owners. Contracts are not free, yet they are free enough to allow the owners to exploit workers without giving them any chance to grow, to build a family, to buy a house and stuff like that. Then I'm naturally drawn away from them, and I'm moving to left-wing parties here, which no doubt are too near communism and statal control, yet give me some warranties about my future. In theory. In practice, their ideas too are hollow and old.
I would love to have a non-intervening State, a totally free work market and so on.
But not in Italy.
'Cause there's one thing that shouldn't be underestimated: "businessman", in Italy, translates into "thief" for the most part. I'll make an example about university, research and stuff like that, which is something I know of 'cause I do work in scientific research. They have no long-term view, they would never invest in the kind of research which could cost them in the short term and return their money in the long term, like in the USA for example. I'm a palaeonthologist, do you think there's even the slightest chance to see some money invested by corporations and stuff in my field? No way. 'Cause this kind of research gives you no money in the short term - they have no idea of stuff like "sponsorization", "opening a museum" and so on. They just want the money here and now. And they want to exploit workers. So our economy is stagnant, our research is stagnant too, no long-time investments, our products (I'm widening the range of the matter now) aren't even a wee bit competitive...
We have totally lost our focus, economically speaking, we're floating in a limbo and see no way to get out of it, 'cause we have no initiative and...

Well, I'll stop here :|

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Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:55 pm
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