Another Italian government falls and one can only hope that political reforms will happen to right the listless ship called Italy.
A minority-government driven system has produced an astounding 61 governments in Italy since the end of World War Two. That is no typo, 61 governments in roughly 63 years. The latest one headed by Prime Minister Romano Prodi fell on a non-confidence motion as his patchwork coalition fell apart recently.
Two communist parties in Prodi’s nine party coalition closed up shop on the coalition and voted against the government’s foreign policy program which included a plan to keep Italian troops in Afghanistan. Rumour has it that one of the coalition-breaker leaders decided to pull the plug after influence-peddling charges were laid against him and wife, also a politician- how Italian some would say.
Another election is now on the horizon and media-mogul Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s version of George W. Bush, is poised to lead Italy again. A country’s media czar and richest man should never be its most powerful leader, there are too many promises and pressures for such a person to deliver true leadership. Add to that Berlusconi’s inability not to say stupid things such as, courtesy of the BBC:
At the launch of his 2006 campaign:
“I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone.”
To German MEP Martin Schulz, at start of Italy’s EU presidency in July 2003:
“I know that in Italy there is a man producing a film on Nazi concentration camps – I shall put you forward for the role of Kapo (guard chosen from among the prisoners) – you would be perfect.”
On Italian secretaries (comments made at the New York stock exchange):
“Italy is now a great country to invest in… today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one. Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries… superb girls.”
“Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation in internal exile.”
…..and you thought George Bush was bad.
I will admit though, this next one was priceless even though I would never vote for him:
On a proposal to base an EU food standards agency in Finland, rather than the Italian city of Parma:
“Parma is synonymous with good cuisine. The Finns don’t even know what prosciutto is. I cannot accept this.”
Hopefully the caretaker government in place can begin the process to some political reforms. Hopefully Italians remember Berlusconi was once mired in corruption charges and his self-interest outweighs his goodwill.
Also, while attempts to clean up this political mess begin, will someone please clean up that actual rubbish piling up in the streets of Naples.