Berlusconi going down?
April 10, 2006 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Berlusconi going down? another leftist leader elected - another victim of bush policies or of his own hubris? (via war and piece)
posted by specialk420 (61 comments total)
See also.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:47 AM on April 10, 2006

Monju - couldn't you have at least put 'slightly NSFW' on that??
posted by matty at 9:50 AM on April 10, 2006

Isn't that video fake, some german low-budget film or something?
posted by JeremyT at 9:53 AM on April 10, 2006

That's not him in that footage but it may as well be.. Anyhow, good riddance. He was a victim of his own sleaze (very silmilar to Bush). (Now that he's gone I believe he has corruption charges to deal with)

So Delay last week Berlusconi this week. Hey April's been pretty good. Cheney next? Rove? (Oh please God, Please please PLHUEEEZEE...).
posted by Skygazer at 9:57 AM on April 10, 2006

Berlusconi strikes me as a great drinking buddy. PM? Not so much.
posted by bardic at 9:57 AM on April 10, 2006

Anyhow, good riddance

Not yet. This is only an exit poll. The count is not done yet.

Can we delete this post until the result is actually announced, then resurrect it if it turns out to be appropriate?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:01 AM on April 10, 2006

matty, how is that even remotely nsfw? Anyway, JeremyT is right, it's from a satirical German film called Bye Bye Berlusconi, shot in Italy in 2004.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:01 AM on April 10, 2006

Can we delete this post until the result is actually announced, then resurrect it if it turns out to be appropriate?

did you miss the "?" after "berlusconi going down" ?
posted by specialk420 at 10:07 AM on April 10, 2006

Maybe Bush's greatest accomplishment will be occidental sweep of power by leftists.
posted by delmoi at 10:09 AM on April 10, 2006

Berlusconi going down?

not so fast, Buster. right now it looks like a tie
posted by matteo at 10:20 AM on April 10, 2006

Call me crazy... simulated sex acts (no matter the comedy value) count as NSFW to me. Hopefully not so much to my IT dept.
posted by matty at 10:22 AM on April 10, 2006

"did you miss the "?" after "berlusconi going down" ?"

No, but I think there should be one after "another leftist leader elected" if the post is to be hypothetical.

To avoid purely grammarsnarking, I will ask, hasn't there already been a kind of midterm election in Italy in which the public had the opportunity to harm Berlusconi's party? I doubt if even the war is a big enough issue in Italy to be the primary cause of his downfall.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 10:22 AM on April 10, 2006

Too much metermaid-humping, or not enough?
posted by kirkaracha at 10:34 AM on April 10, 2006

Berlusconi going down?
Not according to the video.

posted by kirkaracha at 10:36 AM on April 10, 2006

Something tells me that Berlusconi's electoral fortunes hinge on more than his support for Bush or his foreign policy. Dare I say that Italians may have issues with their leader that are purely Italian, and domestic in nature? Sort of like Canada's recent election of a conservative Prime Minister had little to do with Bush or the US?
posted by loquax at 10:46 AM on April 10, 2006

Dare I say that Italians may have issues with their leader that are purely Italian, and domestic in nature?

Gosh, how controversial. Actually, there's a smooth synthesis of foreign and domestic, since Prodi's pan-Europeanism offers a distinct contrast to Berlusconi's personality-driven Atlanticism. Ultimately, though, this is likely to be a pocketbook vote, with a reaction against Italy's plutocrats, one of whom just happens to be the current PM.
posted by holgate at 10:52 AM on April 10, 2006

Gosh, how controversial.

Reading the post, you'd think it was!
posted by loquax at 10:54 AM on April 10, 2006

If I could vote in the Italian elections, I would have sooo voted for L'ambienta-Lista per Ghigo. They have a motherfucking waving, smiling bear in their motherfucking logo!
posted by naxosaxur at 11:23 AM on April 10, 2006

In this electoral campaign the war in Iraq and the relationship with the US counted about... let me quantify... hmm... 5% at most? I don't even remember the last time it came up as a topic. Most of the debate was on the economy, and on Berlusconi himself.
posted by funambulist at 11:45 AM on April 10, 2006

The differences are so minimal even the votes of italians abroad will count. Who said one vote is worthless ?
posted by elpapacito at 11:51 AM on April 10, 2006

Another breakdown of the vote
posted by slater at 12:34 PM on April 10, 2006

Agh. Exit poll projections are evil things...

Alternatively: exit polls are controlled by Berlusconi; Italians abroad are all fascists; the mafia has bought more votes than usual?

How can half, or even, hopefully, almost half voters be voting for those liars and thieves again? Evidently the last week rabid offense strategy paid off. The avian flu scare is nothing compared to the oh so realistic fear of Pol Pot...
posted by funambulist at 12:39 PM on April 10, 2006

Well I certainly spoke too soon. Considering how the early exit polling went in this country in 2004, I should've known better. I wonder if Diebold "voting systems" (ahem) are used in Italy.
posted by Skygazer at 12:43 PM on April 10, 2006

The BBC is now saying that Berlusconi "may narrowly retain control of both houses of parliament".

"The Nexus projections, carried on the state broadcaster Rai, gave Mr Berlusconi's forces 49.9% in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house), and Mr Prodi's bloc 49.6%. For the Senate the projections gave Mr Berlusconi's bloc 158 seats and Mr Prodi's 151. "

85% turnout, wow.

Don't forget that the Hungarians are electing a new government too, also with lefties looking to replace righties.
posted by loquax at 12:52 PM on April 10, 2006

Other projections (those used by Sky News Italy) give a narrow margin to Prodi's coalition instead. It's all really still too uncertain until all the real votes are in.
posted by funambulist at 1:32 PM on April 10, 2006

It's anothe razor thin election a-la US of A. Whoever wins is going to have an hard time governing
posted by elpapacito at 3:12 PM on April 10, 2006

skygazer: some experimentation on Diebold alikes was used in this election, even if I don't know exactly where. Anything electronic voting based I have despised from day of inception and first use and many experts of any poltical color in italy agree.
posted by elpapacito at 3:18 PM on April 10, 2006

It's anothe razor thin election a-la US of A. Whoever wins is going to have an hard time governing

And just like that razor, whoever wins probably stole it.
posted by gsb at 3:22 PM on April 10, 2006

gsb: well yeah with these razor thin differences the effect of any fraud is more relevant, regardless of who stole what.
posted by elpapacito at 3:49 PM on April 10, 2006

delmoi writes "Maybe Bush's greatest accomplishment will be occidental sweep of power by leftists."

Germany? Canada?

Don't give the guy too much credit.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:09 PM on April 10, 2006

(Possibly incorrect) breaking news + home page of Italian newspaper + utterly gratuitous via != good MeFi post
posted by mkultra at 4:42 PM on April 10, 2006

Gee, another leader so horrible he may win again....hmm....
posted by ParisParamus at 5:26 PM on April 10, 2006

another leftist leader elected - another victim of bush policies or of his own hubris?

Drawing connections between elections in different countries along party lines makes almost no sense.
posted by Viomeda at 5:40 PM on April 10, 2006

Reuters is reporting that Romano Prodi's center-left coalition has won control of Italy's lower house of parliament. Italy's Senate still remains in doubt, but Prodi has declared that his coalition has secured a majority there as well.

According to Prodi's coalition, they are on course to win a one-seat majority in the Senate, and a slim majority in the lower house of parliament.

Prodi recently stated that he would pull Italy's 2,600 troops from Iraq "as soon as possible" should he win the election. Such a withdrawl could potentially require that additional US troops be deployed. Italy's withdrawl might also encourage some of the few remaining US coalition partners, such as Poland or Romania, to withdraw their forces sooner.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:25 PM on April 10, 2006

Well for that alone, Prodi should lose.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:27 PM on April 10, 2006

User ParisParamus is a troll, but can not be deleted.

Abort, Retry, Ignore?

posted by insomnia_lj at 9:10 PM on April 10, 2006

Prodi recently stated that he would pull Italy's 2,600 troops from Iraq "as soon as possible" should he win the election.

In practice, this is the same plan as Berlusconi's coalition, they both said they'd pull out troops by the end of this year, and after consulting with the Iraqi government - that's what "as soon as possible" means -, so, it's just a matter of difference of emphasis in speaking to their respective voters, but again, this issue has been playing almost no part in the electoral campaign, it was much more relevant two years ago. The Italian military presence in Iraq is purely symbolic anyway. They count nothing.
posted by funambulist at 1:08 AM on April 11, 2006

The results for the Senate are still pending, they're still counting the votes of Italians abroad.

However, it is the lower house, not the Senate, that effectively counts, and even a narrow win grants an automatic majority of 340 seats there. It's a crap situation politically, but if there is only one vote more, the mechanism grants a majority, so technically, there is a winner.

The funniest thing, everybody, especially those in the government, obviously, because they lost the majority in the house, are saying the new electoral laws that applied for the first time are crap (and they are because they allowed voting only for parties, not for candidates in each party), but hey, it's not like they passed them themselves! They were in charge for five years, yet when something is wrong it's always like it's someone else's fault.
posted by funambulist at 1:11 AM on April 11, 2006

A win doesn't guarantee a 340 seat majority, it guarantees a minimum of 54%, or 340 seats, of the 630 total lower-house seats.

The Senate runs a similar system, but the regions of Italy are assessed independently with the winner of each gaining a minimum of 55% of the seats in that region. There is no national mechanism, though, so deadlocks are very possible.

The overseas votes, as with any general election, will take some additional time to process, but (though I have no evidence to support me) I can't imagine that expat-Italians permitted the view of Berlusconi that the rest of the world is shown could be voting for him in great numbers.

The new electoral system was only instituted in December (I was convinced it was this year, but apparently not) and was widely seen as a security measure for Berlusconi.
Forcing all votes to be for parties means the winner passes power to the dirtiest political fighter, not the most popular candidate. Forcing all parties to be a certain size (4% of the national vote) to qualify for seats almost uniquely penalises the opposition for its eclecticism. Preferentially for those parties in coalitions, they need only secure 2% to earn their seats.

This all meant it was either "for our man Silvio", or for "that communist Romano", etc. etc. as all parties swung in behind the main figureheads to create coalitions. The resultant swell of the almost-powerful right-wing parties gathering behind Forza Italia as the reigning champ, plus Berlusconi's personality cult was supposed to guarantee a win (of any size), and therefore a clear majority.

Frankly, I've no idea how the plan didn't work.
No idea at all.
The election has been a quite horrible trap for the opposition for some time now, and Berlusconi's massive control over the Italian media should have secured a smooth passage. I think it will be a favourite for political studies for some time.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 2:25 AM on April 11, 2006

A win doesn't guarantee a 340 seat majority, it guarantees a minimum of 54%, or 340 seats, of the 630 total lower-house seats.

Yeah that's what I meant, Ninja, sorry for confusion.

Anyway, the counting is over and the left won by a narrow margin also in the Senate. Thanks to Italians abroad!

It's not a good result and it'll be difficult to govern but based on the law it really is not a tie anymore, it is a win, that's how it works. The right should have thought about it before passing a law that they end up regretting. Sore losers. They were the ones saying up to yesterday that even one single vote more means you win, now they're bitching and talking about coups, how pathetic. If it had been them, they'd have claimed victory even earlier and with much bigger celebrations.
posted by funambulist at 4:13 AM on April 11, 2006

Frankly, I've been having deja vu since last night. And snickering a bit at the Ministero dell'Interno's homepage: Due server per facilitare l'accesso ai dati del Servizio Elettorale...which are apparently powered by hampsters running on a wheel.

On preview: funambulist, Viminale is still showing Cdl 155/Unione 154 in the Senate, with 6 seats left to assign, but with all of the data apparently counted...?
posted by romakimmy at 4:27 AM on April 11, 2006

but with all of the data apparently counted...stupid hampsters.
posted by romakimmy at 4:29 AM on April 11, 2006

Yeah heh the Interior website is still behind... the left's victory is certain, every news source has reported it.

The missing 6 seats in the Senate were those from the votes of Italian abroad, they've been assigned now, 4 to the left, 2 to the right.

Here is how the Italians abroad voted. The biggest left-leaning camps were in Europe and Latin America and Asia-Africa-Oceania, the biggest right-leaning one in the US (one point more than the left).
posted by funambulist at 5:00 AM on April 11, 2006

Then I *guess* I can start celebrating...that deja vu is kicking my butt again, though. Mebee I'll hold off on celebrating until Berlusca makes that phone call conceeding to Prodi...
posted by romakimmy at 5:21 AM on April 11, 2006

kimmy: conceding ? Don't think so they have asked for a recount and claiming they (CDL) won the politican election because they got 350K more votes for Senate.

That's pure demagogy as 350000 voters is less then 1% of the voter base ! Similarly the left didn't win by a landslide in the Parliament, but only by a mere +-25000 votes.

What is absolutely clear is that the country is evendly divided in two polarized opposing parties. What's wrong is not the divergence of opinions (which is usually good) but the fact there are no opinions ! It's only a "they vs us" , much like liberul vs republicass this vacuum of tought, special interest proliferates.
posted by elpapacito at 5:44 AM on April 11, 2006

kimmy, I had that feeling yesterday, that I now have an idea of how Americans must have felt!

But, unlike in the US, the victory does not depend on Berlusconi conceding (or even on Prodi claiming victory), it's the numbers and the seats assigned according to the laws, and no matter how narrow the margins are, those are clear. So it doesn't matter if Berlusconi and co. keep on bitching, like elpapacito said, it's just more rhetoric. They're also bitching about projections.

If there was actually a serious dispute on votes, there would have to be other steps than just whining about it, it wouldn't depend only on what the losing party says. It would take judicial investigations, even declaring the election void and holding another election, and the President appointing a special interim government, etc. but that's ruled out now.
posted by funambulist at 6:12 AM on April 11, 2006

Oh, and those voided votes that Berlusconi's party said they want recounted are actually much less than in previous elections, including the one where Berlusconi won.
posted by funambulist at 6:17 AM on April 11, 2006

kimmy : and remember now communist have power, all americans must leave ! Start packing baggage kim :)
posted by elpapacito at 6:19 AM on April 11, 2006

is it fait accompli? prodi? slaters link would seem to say yes.
posted by specialk420 at 6:46 AM on April 11, 2006

What influence has Silvio over the courts now?
I must admit I stopped paying attention for a good while but I know he was trying to purge the judges bench for their part in the "conspiracy" against him. Did this ever happen?

Should the American happen, and all of this cannonballs into the courts for the biggest fight of his career, would Berlusconi get any favours from Justice when arguing which votes should be counted and which votes should not?
posted by NinjaTadpole at 6:50 AM on April 11, 2006

Ninja, answer to the last question is definitely no - and again, the agitating from the right is only a media trick, it's just a statement. No one took it seriously and no one has actually started any required formal procedure to dispute the vote results. A full blown court dispute would be a huge risk for the right itself, and then the damage to the economy, markets, etc. It's not even being contemplated or mentioned by anyone.

Formally the new Prime minister from the winning coalition must be appointed by the President, and right now the mandate for the President is expiring (the President of the Republic doesn't really have executive powers, it's more like an institutional bipartisan figure acting as a guarantee) and a new one needs to be elected by Parliament (or the same one could be re-elected), so the formal appointment might be postponed a few weeks -- but this has nothing to do with election results, it would be the same even if the winning majority was huge.

For the first question, no Berlusconi didn't purge judges, that's not even possible, judges are not appointed by Parliament, but he did pass some laws that favoured his friends and his situation.

Right now there's more revelations coming out on other bribe charges within Berlusconi's circle and party. And he also has a couple of pending trials from before.
posted by funambulist at 7:15 AM on April 11, 2006

A correction/clarification - the recount of the ballots that were voided according to rules (not correctly marked, deliberately voided by voters, etc. - much less than in past elections, but then past elections didn't have such a narrow margin) may take place if they formally require it, but even then, there isn't a court dispute scenario, unless something earth shattering comes out, which is highly unlikely.
posted by funambulist at 7:48 AM on April 11, 2006

Phew. Ever the eternal pessimist when it comes to politics, I saw the cry for recounting and began bracing for hanging-chad bickering, completely forgetting the judiciary system is way different here.

Even American 'Commies', elpapa? Eh chiedo l'asilo politico che nè dici? ;)
posted by romakimmy at 8:13 AM on April 11, 2006

funambulist: I guess the right is in pure denial, which is kind of predictable right now. We will probably see the right foaming and screaming, but so as long as its to appease the voters it's ok.

Problem is what they are going to to outside of the parliament against the government, far from the eyes of public opinion.

kimmy: un'americana comunista suona bene ! Chiedi a Fausto !
posted by elpapacito at 8:20 AM on April 11, 2006

posted by NinjaTadpole at 8:27 AM on April 11, 2006

bye bye burlesconi
posted by specialk420 at 11:22 AM on April 11, 2006

specialk420: given what happened in US with Vote Recounts, I guess it's better to wait until the pronuncement of Corte di Cassazione (the court that must rule the validity of the outcome)
posted by elpapacito at 12:37 PM on April 11, 2006

kimmy: your pessimism is well justified anyway... and there isn't a lot of difference in susbtance with the procedure in the US, the 'concession' speech is still politically important, but, even if Berlusconi's camp kept on bitching and whining, when the court formally confirms the results, that's it. He can't bring it further than that.

The thing that really is frustrating is not the demand for recounts itself, but the motivation, the intent, the kind of stuff Berlusconi is saying. He's pretending to ignore electoral laws his own coalition passed and talking about the 'popular vote' being higher in their favour, forgetting it's about the seats - deja vu again eh? He's the only one talking about suspicions of wrongdoings, when even the President says he is satisfied the vote was regular.

Berlusconi doesn't want to concede immediately because he is calling for some kind of 'grand coalition' like in recent German election results, conveniently 'forgetting' the Germans have a different law and no single force had reached a majority there. He doesn't even have the support of all his allies on that, and the left rightly said he can forget about it, but he is bitching about that too.

He always wants to act as if the laws don't count. Even his own laws, when they don't turn out in his favour. Typical of a certain godfather-like mentality he sure didn't create, but definitely amplified.
posted by funambulist at 3:13 PM on April 11, 2006

Glad Prodi won!

Hope Berlusconi doesn't throw a shitstorm of obsure nonsense before he finally concedes. Now that he's out doesn't he face criminal charges Funambulist?
posted by Skygazer at 4:25 PM on April 11, 2006

There's still a couple of pending trials, yes (including this case).

In 2003 Berlusconi's government had passed a law granting immunity from prosecution for himself as the prime minister and other top officials, but it was overturned in 2004 by the constitutional court. So the fact he's no longer PM doesn't change the situation (if that's shat you were thinking of).
posted by funambulist at 2:58 AM on April 12, 2006

Yes, the dog does not want to give up the bone. Berlusca's learned well from his idol Bush and I fear he's gonna drag this out for as long as he can.

As D'Alema pointed out on Porta a Porta last night, there would have been a festa of massive proportions if posistions were reversed. I must admit I am encouraged by the left's admission that "we need to better understand the [other half of] country" as I seriously doubt Berlusca would have been saying the same thing had he won, given that whoever votes for the left is a coglione.
posted by romakimmy at 4:02 AM on April 12, 2006

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