Italian General Elections - 2006

Another five years have passed and here we go again: General Elections time!
Today and tomorrow Italy must should vote for a new government, and the choice is again between two main contenders to the Prime Minister’s throne chair:

- Romano Prodi
- Silvio Berlusconi

Just today I was reading an interesting article titled ‘The End of Silvio’s Show?’ in which the author examines the possibility that Berlusconi’s five years of subtle pseudo-dictatorship may end in favour the former president of European Commission Romano Prodi.

Who are they?

Silvio Berlusconi

I can’t imagine someone asking this question, at least I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t know Silvio Berlusconi as the icon of the latest national oddity.
Forthose who need their memory refreshed, here’s a small collection of links featuring him:

There are millions more. In particular, I’d like to add one more: The Empire of Silvio Berlusconi, which features an image taken from an Italian magazine listing (roughly) everything owned (the image is dated 2002) by our current (for now) Prime Minister, such as:

  • Mediaset Television (100%) – which includes three national channels
  • Medusa Film (100%) – Movie productions
  • Milan A.C. (99%) – Football team
  • Edilnord (63%) – Real Estate
  • Blockbuster (51%) – Video retal shops
  • Mondadori Spa (48%) – Biggest Italian editorial company
  • Mediolanum (35.5%) – Financial sociaty – banks, insurances etc.

Nice, isn’t it? Of course he had to give those societies to some trusted administrators before becoming Prime Minister… but let’s not talk about this…

Romano Prodi

Perhaps not as well known abroad as Silvio, but was recently the President of the European Commission for a while. Here are some (more serious) links about him:

Known as “The Professor” for his education…

“He graduated in economics at Milan’s Catholic University in 1961 and did postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics. He also spent a year as visiting professor at Harvard in 1974”
(Prodi’s BBC profile)

…Romano Prodi is the candidate proposed by the current Italian opposition, grouping roughly all the center-left parties. He’s the one who pushed Italy – as President of the European Commission – to accept the Euro as new currency, back in the day, and also the one who was blamed for than after a few months when the Euro effect occurred: prices went higher and didn’t seem to be an exact conversion from Lire to Euro. He was chubby enough (“mortadella” is one of his most recurring nicknames) to be quickly appointed as scapegoat for the unpleasant situation.

Besides that, if someone asks me what’s the difference between the two candidates, I’ll answer: one is a politician and devoted all his life to Politics, while the other partly devoted only the last 10-years-or-so to politics because it seemed to be a cool and worthwhile investment

Who am going to vote?

Well, one thing is sure: I don’t want Silvio to win again, I don’t want Italy to be publicly ridicolized abroad all the time that muppet opens his mouth or simply does something he thinks is funny…