I’m so excited, it’s great to finally feel good about some election results… I’m just expanding here on a couple of comments I made to a thread on dKos… news is still developing, it’s dinner time over here, and I can’t stay online very long, so please be patient with what little I have to say.
The results of the Italian regional (and some provincial) elections are being tallied up, and the center-left “Unione” is cleaning up practically in all but a couple of regions (winning 11 out of 13!).
First of all, even though it’s not totally over or official yet, what I consider the most astounding and exciting surprise result is what is probably taking place in Puglia (Apulia) — deep down in “macho” (as journalist Lucia Annunziata just mentioned) southern Italy: apart from being a candidate of Rifondazione Comunista (the most left-wing part of the center-left coalition), the probable winning candidate, Nichi Vendola, is also openly gay!
As Annunziata said, this is both historic – the first gay regional governor in Italy – and proof that Italian society has progressed much more than anyone (especially Berlusconi’s right) might have suspected.
I did hear a really asinine comment from a right-winger in an interview on TV here this afternoon, when they were discussing the first exit polls. He attributed the exit poll results (which already gave the center-left as victorious in most cases) as a result of the people’s depressed mood after the death of the Pope! Good grief, as if people were grieving at the polls, and were able to (miraculously?) pull out a vote, but then not connect when it came time to answer an exit poll? What kind of ass-backward logic is that? Someone else (also a right-winger) said, very solemnly, that the Pope’s death had definitely “influenced” the vote. At most I would have thought that there could have been a bit of a fall in voter turnout (I, myself, almost forgot yesterday); but instead, the turnout has been quite high (71.4%). But one thing that is sure is that whoever went to vote did not change their vote at the last minute, or lose their mind when they went to answer a question, just because the Pope died.
Luckily no one over here tried to say that the exit polls might have been very far off-kilter; and indeed, it seems they’ve been pretty much right on target (which is the way it should be, isn’t it?).
These elections have nothing to do with the Parliament or the actual national government. But the results do show that the voters are no longer leaning to the right, also because they have punished even some incumbent center-right governors who had supposedly governed their regions fairly well (although I can’t confirm or deny that).
So, even though the center-right is denying it, these elections have become a nationwide stance and message against Berlusconi and his cronies and politics, whether they like it or not.
The fact is, people are getting fed up with the economic situation here, the fact that Berlusconi & Co. pass laws for their own benefit, and that they’ve started to mess with the Italian Constitution (sound familiar?). That has been pointed out as one of the main reasons for the Italian citizens’ disapproval. Some in the U.S. seem to be attributing the change in the voters’ mood to the international scene: the war in Iraq (and recent relations/disputes with Blair & Bush), the Sgrena affair, etc. These may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but strangely enough I haven’t heard them even mentioned in the commentary and political analyses on TV yet.
As former “Clean Hands” judge Antonio Di Pietro said, in order to get elected, the campaigning Berlusconi had made it sound as if everyone would be better off with him in office when, in the end, it’s only Berlusconi himself and a few of his buddies who are better off. As they say,“You can fool all of the people some of the time…”