A Very Quiet Election

15 04 2008

Italians Vote for a Change,

but without much expectation of getting it

Decidi tu 2008 / You decide 2008

I was looking forward to enjoying my opportunity to vote in an Italian election for the first time. With memories of the hectic campaigning of the past, when every surface of the city would be covered in posters, mailboxes would be stuffed with flyers and you could not walk down the street without being assailed by passionate pleas for support from the candidates and their surrogates, I expected to spend a lot of time engaged in heated political debates before making an informed decision that would determine the fate of the entire nation. Yet the only electoral discussion I had this time around, when I could really make a difference, was about the inadvisability of bringing a videophone into the voting booth.

The anti-videophone measures were in place, complete with hefty fines for the unwary, to ensure that people engaging in voti di scambio (vote buying) did not take advantage of the latest technology to provide a live feed of their unscrupulous electoral choices. No such illicit activities were detected during my visit to the polling station on Monday. Apart from the electoral officials enjoying a picnic lunch alongside the ballot boxes, complete with an excellent selection of local wine, cheese, and particularly enticing pastries, I was the only member of the public there.

Despite the obvious importance of this election, coming at a time when Italy is undergoing a severe economic crisis accompanied by rampant inflation, what struck me is how little effort any of the parties made to gather votes. No candidate or political activist tried to speak with me – let alone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Over the course of the campaign I collected a grand total of 3 leaflets for specific candidates – 2 tucked under the windshield wipers of my Fiat and 1 from the counter of a bar. I saw few posters and didn’t notice any ads on tv. Indeed, it would have been easy to forget there was a national election going on at all.




4 responses

18 04 2008

Hi! Congratulations for your first vote! 😉 I agree with you: “Italians Vote for a Change, but without much expectation of getting it”. In a recent article written in Time magazine, “All is not lost”, it is said that “It is sad indeed for democracy when smart people start pulling for both sides to lose”. I think it is the most intelligent sentence I have read about Italian elections. Bye!!

19 04 2008

Thanks for the kind words and the congratulations. I would enjoyed voting even more if the electoral officials had shared some of their delicious pastries with me! 😀 My interpretation of the campaign was that the problems facing Italy were so great that none of the political leaders really felt that they had a convincing plan to offer and the left, in particular, seemed resigned to losing the election. Let’s hope for the best. A presto!

20 04 2008

What is Berlusconi’s position on the Italian bike industry – especially as regards Bottecchia?

21 04 2008

Taze1: I’m sure he has a thoughtful and nuanced position designed to foster the prosperity of this vital industry in a new age of global competition.

Leave a Reply to shakespearepolitics Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: