Silvio Berlusconi vs. Romano Prodi?
By Deanna Cox Miranda
History is being made in Italian politics! For the first time ever, the election for members of the Italian parliament is going international!
Back in 2001, Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government passed a law allowing Italians living abroad the right to vote by absentee
ballot for members of parliament. The law created four overseas electoral districts designed to represent Italians living overseas. The four
districts include: 1) Europe , 2) North and Central America , 3) South America , and 4) Africa ,Asia ,Oceania and Antarctica .
Since the race between conservative Berlusconi and center-left candidate, Romano Prodi, remains quite heated and close
(a few point difference), the senatorial seats in parliament are extremely desirable. Given this impassioned political challenge, the
international inclusionary votes can make a major difference in the outcome. Therefore, candidates from both parties are campaigning
furiously and covering as many countries in their districts as possible.
The South American district is a big one. Candidates in this district have been concentrating a lot of energy on Argentina since it is
“home to hundreds of thousands of Italians.” Right-winger, Mirko Tremaglia, was also “working” Uruguay . At a recent campaign rally in
Montevideo , he told the crowd: “You will have the real possibility of changing Italian politics.”
(No offense, but Uruguayans can barely change Uruguayan politics!)
But perhaps the most interesting and curious candidate is Atlanta , Georgia resident, Angela Della Costanza Turner, the daughter-in-law of
media mogul Ted Turner! Her district is North and Central America and she’s seeking a parliamentary seat to represent the Berlusconi
government. It’s so bizarre to hear a candidate for the Italian parliament state to the press: “I flew from Costa Rica today and I have
people campaigning for me in Nicaragua .” Wow!
If you’re interested in reading more, link below to the Associated Press article (dated March 21, 2006 ), “Overseas Voters May Decide
Italy Elections.” The opening sentence is amazing: “Millions of new voters, many of whom have never set foot in Italy and barely speak Italian , could decide
the tight race between Premier Silvio Berculsoni and contender Romano Prodi.”