In all of the larger campos in Venice you will find these metal placards holding political campaign posters. Ugly buggers, but at least it keeps the posters off of buildings and trees. They won't be eyesores for very long, as shortly after the election workers will begin deconstructing them. Packing them away until the next election.
Today and tomorrow all over the country, Italians will be voting in the 2013 parliamentary election, where not only senate and delegates will be elected, but also a new Prime Minister. The former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi resigned in 2011. Mario Monti took over the role as an interim government.
Italian politics are complicated. Candidates don't run, a party or coalition runs. The entire parliament is voted on at the same time, both Chamber of Delegates and the Senate. Whichever coalition gets the most popular vote nationwide receives 54% of the seats in the Chamber. The second highest coalition regionally gets 55% of the seats in the Senate for that region. things get trickier after this, there is no way I can give an adequate explanation of the process, I don't fully understand it myself.
To make things even more complex, there are over 20 different coalitions and parties participating in this election. Only three coalitions are the main competition, with a few other smaller parties also in the mix. Who are the contenders?
In order of the recnet poles, the three top contenders are :
Pier Luigi Bersani, head of the Democratic Party (PD)
Silvio Berlusconi, head of the People of Freedom
Mario Monti, head of Scelta Civica (Civic Choice)
Beppe Grillo, head of the 5 Star Movement
It's just too hard to believe that Berlusconi is running again, and even harder to comprehend that he is running very closely behind Bersani. So closely that Berlusconi could actually become Prime Minister for a fourth term. Yes, even after all of his scandals and legal entanglements. His campaign promises of repealing the property tax law that was enacted under Monti and refunding those taxes paid in 2012 is a very popular topic with Italians. This could possibly get him the votes.
It seems Bersani's only claim to fame is that he has been in politics forever. Hmm. The lesser of 4 evils??
Monti has done an adequate job of handling his interim post. But is that enough?
And, if there could possibly be anything even more comical than that, there actually is. Beppe Grillo, a comedian, has been running very high in the current polls, and could potentially be the winner.
It's anybody's guess what the outcome will be. We'll know that tomorrow night. It's an important vote for Italy. Let's just hope we get it right.