Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

So long, Silvio?

God damn, this has been tight. Looks like a margin of less than 0.1% of the popular vote on an 83% turnout (via the Italy Magazine blog). Which only prompts the question, “what Italian in their right mind would want to see Berlusconi back in power?” I mean yes, he’s great entertainment value (from a distance), but really…

In any case, it may still not be over, despite excitement in the early hours of this morning – even after Romano Prodi has claimed victory for the centre-left coalition, Tobias Schwarz at Fistful notes that with a margin of (apparently) just 25,000 votes, Berlusconi could demand a recount, which could well take the rest of the week…

Meanwhile, full-on lefty Lenin (the name’s a clue, you see?) analyses what a centre-left Prodi victory could mean for Italy (he’s not overly optimistic), while Italian in London Davide Simonetti looks at the wider implications.

More later, if I get a chance and things get finalised…

Update: Good stuff on the possible implications from Paul Davies at Make My Vote Count, and also over at Crooked Timber.

Wednesday update: Another good post-match analysis, plus a very handy statistical overview and explanation of the insanely complex Italian electoral system, complete with maps and diagrams (via).

16 Comments

  1. Oh joy! What a relief, the stress of last night was really getting to me. I just hope there are no more horrible surprises in this story. I will relax more when Prodi gets his phone call from Berlusconi.

  2. Unfortunately, the call's likely to be along the lines of "I refuse to concede and demand a recount" by the look of things…

  3. Silvio's as likely to give in as he is to grow old gracefully.

    There's plenty more fun to come yet – first the possible recount, then they can't get a final final decision until there's a new president, which won't happen for a while, then there're local elections, then Mr Prodi, if he does win, has to deal with a crappy economy and a strong hard left presence determined to stop him having a go at fixing it… (horrible spam alert) more explanation (of sorts) here.

  4. You don't have to post on your blog if you don't have much to say mate.

    how do you get away posting this crap every day with a bare bones knowledge of what you're talking about. and why bother? many do it better than you..

    'meanwhile..' i hate it when you say that.

  5. Are you stalking me, Bryan old boy? I'm beginning to think you're obsessed…

    If you don't like my stuff, there's umpteen billion other websites out there, yet you keep returning with random criticism. I'd probably be flattered by your concern for my writing if I could actually summon the will to care what you, or indeed anyone else who isn't paying me for the stuff, thinks about it.

  6. Now we see what happens when Burlusconi's immunity evaporates…

    The trolls do seem to like you… Been lurking under bridges lately, or something?

  7. Err…I dont mind those little updates.

    Could you explain what this means for the EU though?

  8. Epi – hard to tell until the results are finalised and we can see how much ability he'll have to change Italy's foreign policy direction. Only thing that's pretty certain, from the EU's point of view, is that under ex-Commision bod Prodi there'll be no more talk of withdrawing from the Eurozone and reinstating the Lira…

    Other than that, Prodi's a very canny politician – he'll play it exactly how it needs to be played to give him the best chance to remain in power, and the vaguaries of the Italian party coalition system will ensure that very little can be predicted policy-wise.

    Anyone who claims they know what's going to happen at this early stage is talking rubbish. Even the BBC are falling into the trap – albeit with some qualifications. Realpolitik is key, and until the reality becomes known we simply won't know the implications.

    (Enter Bryan, blathering on about how if I don't know I shouldn't say anything, or some other tedious rubbish…)

  9. Does anyone here know who the candidates are for the Presidential elections in May? With all the Berlusconi/Prodi stuff going on I had forgotten about it. Also what kind of a difference could that make to the new government?

  10. okay, yeah. enough. i'll be on my way. good luck with your blog and your ego.

    bry.

  11. "what Italian in their right mind would want to see Berlusconi back in power?

    Um, the wealthy ones? My friends in Italy are mostly Bologna based. It's nice to sit in a bar chatting and figuring out you're the most right wing person present for a change. Friend at work is out there currently at a trade show, the git, he'll be back with stories.

    But 2 weeks ago we got visited by an agent from a different part. Berlusconi can do no wrong, he's great. He got rid of inheritance tax, he cut taxes, he got rid of those nasty socialists from the TV, etc.

    Besides which, when you have 6 TV channels, 5 say vote Berlusconi he's great and deny Prodi much airtime, and the other has little money and less viewers?

    Still, high turnout, close result. Interesting times. May have to investigate one of those internet translators to look at some real voting numbers data.

    Oh, Bryan? Piss off. If "many do it better", then go read/comment there FFS.

  12. under ex-Commision bod Prodi there'll be no more talk of withdrawing from the Eurozone and reinstating the Lira
    Maybe not from Prodi, but what about from the Berlusconi press? Being in the Euro has created problems for the Italian economy, and Prodi is the ex-head of the Commission. The Euro therefore offers a great way to shift blame for Berlusconi's economic problems onto Prodi, via the EU, ready for Berlusconi's next shot at power.

  13. Does anyone here know who the candidates are for the Presidential elections in May? With all the Berlusconi/Prodi stuff going on I had forgotten about it. Also what kind of a difference could that make to the new government?

    Davide, the smart money seems to be on Giuliano Amato, another former centre-left prime minister. Not sure exactly what the implications would be – how much power does the Italian president actually have/exercise?

  14. Interesting the comment about Amato. An obvious candidate to be sure. Very well respected internationally, and presumably reasonably so in Italy. Very europhile! Very very keen on the constitutional treaty, although he would have preferred it to be a proper "constitution". Anyway, can you source that anywhere for me Paul Davies? I'd be very grateful. I think, and fear, there will be open season in the Berlusconi media on the Prodi government and I cannot see said government lasting a very long time…

  15. I read it on The Economist in an online article that was being regularly updated. It's been updated again, such that they now think that "Given the narrowness of the result, an increasingly likely option may be to persuade the 85-year-old president to stay in office, at least for a while."

    Which would make things odder still…