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The local elections’ second ballot in Italy confirmed the victory of the left-wing coalition in most of the cities and towns called to vote. Since the first round the voters’ trend has been very clear. Many of the strongholds of Silvio Berlusconi and his right-wing party Pdl fell into the hands of the opposition party, embittering strongly the clash between the parties.
The hottest challenges were those of Milan and Naples concluded both at the second ballot with a crushing victory of the Left – Milan 55.1% and Naples 65.4% -. The first is Berlusconi’s home and has been ruled by the Right during the last 20 years, the second was considered as his ” tour de force” in regard of the infinite empty promises he made both during the electoral campaign in 2008 and these 3 years of his government.
Over the last weeks of electoral campaign, fought as a real war with no holds barred, Italians have been witnesses to a set of incredible tricks and events as slanders, fake assaults, electoral posters disparaging and libelous, attempts of votes’ sale, clashes between supporters, tension, and much more.
Berlusconi characterized these elections as a personal struggle against the Left and his supporters. As usual he used unfortunate appellations in referring to his opponents and their supporters, for example, communist, terrorist, extremist, and brainless. He also tried to hit them pushing on subjects as Islam, gypsies, homosexuality, criminality, communism and immorality.
The candidates of his party accused their adversaries during TV shows or through the media of having committed objectionable or criminal acts, of being tied to criminals, Muslims, or Romani groups, inciting indirectly to racism, intolerance, and fanaticism, and also trying to strike terror into people.
This wrong strategy contributed in leading to this heavy defeat. Italians have the will to change and have gotten to a saturation point maybe. The results of these local elections are a clear sign of a need of alternative, a sign of general weariness and of mistrust towards a ruling party and their leaders who has failed on all fronts, and who is very far away from the problems of the country and the people.
The Left celebrates this victory proud of the crushing defeat inflicted to Berlusconi. After a long absence of an actual opposition and of an alternative, the left-wing coalition seems to be gaining ground and to be reconstructing a strong political group with the support of new parties as SEL, Nichi Vendola’s party which many of the new mayors elected belong to, as for example the mayor of Milan Giuliano Pisapia.
In Naples the election of the ex-magistrate Luigi De Magistris has a great symbolic value in reference to the justice theme and the attacks of Berlusconi to magistracy.
The geography of Italy has changed, from North to South a high percentage of local administrations are in the Left’s hands now, but the country is still ruled by Berlusconi and his coalition. He has a strong majority which enables him to operate over important political and economic questions.
In spite of scandals, strong clashes between institutions, laws and personal abuse of power, and conflict of interest over the last 17 years Berlusconi has been elected four times as Prime Minister and has deeply changed Italian politics and the structure of the country. Has he had his day? It is yet to be seen.