Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday: Primary Colours in Italy

The center-left chooses on Sunday its candidate for the general election of 2013 in Italy. There are several candidates, and if no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, the two best may still go to another vote in some weeks time. The two favourites are the veteran Pier Luigi Bersani, secretary of the Democratic Party (the heirs of the old and very decent Italian Communst Party, who was refounded and adhered to the Socialist International after the collapse of the Italian Socialist Party of Bettino Craxi), and Matteo Renzi, the 37 year old Mayor of Florence. Renzi runs on a platform of political renewal, attacking the gerontocracy that dominates Italian politics. Bersani emphasizes his centre-left credentials. Unfortunately, I don't follow Italian politics close enough any more (I lived in Italy between 1995 and 1999), but two factors make me wish Mr. Bersani to win. First, I think Renzi is too young to lead a country with the problems of Italy, whereas I have always had great respect for the seriousness of the party that used to be the PCI (and enjoyed its dinners on Sundays in the Casa dil Popolo in Fiesole): if only all the aparatchiks in the world were like D'Alema or Bersani. Second, I have been following the almost desperate appeals of the veteran journalist Eugenio Scalfari in La Repubblica against populism and for an alliance between the center and the left that leaves the Berlusconi years forever behind. Scalfari does not exclude an alliance between Bersani and Monti after the election, and I also think this would be a very reasonable majority to guide Italy in the near future, and contribute to a more democratic and integrated Europe.

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