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YIPPEE!!!! PDF Print E-mail
May 30, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Mayor Giuiano Pisapia
Mayor Luigi De Magistris

Now if I were still writing for a daily newspaper, I would never be able to start a piece saying "yippee". But that's the advantage of having a blog, or a "newsblog", as I like to think of Stranitalia. So YIPPEE! The voters who went to the polls in yesterday's run-off elections in four major Italian cities gave a resounding "no" to premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Here are the results: In Milan, radical chic leftish lawyer, Giuliano Pisapia, defeated incumbent mayor Letizia Moratti with 55.1% to 44.9%. In Naples, former magistrate Luigi De Magistris, running on the ticket of the Italia of Values (but supported by the mainstream left-of-center PD in the second round) soundly trounced the Berlusconi candidate,Gianni Lettieri, wth a striking 65.4. In Trieste, a PD candidate, became the city's new mayor with 57.5 of the vote. And in Sardinia, the city of Cagliari elected a young PD exponent as mayor with 59.4 percent of the vote.

The Milan vote was by far the most significant, since Berlusconi, who is Milanese (and also the owner of the Milan football team which won this year's championship, had turned the campaign into a popularity contest for himself, not the mayor. He probably was forewarned since in the first round of elections two weeks ago he had received only 23,000 preferential votes compared to the 55,000 he received five years ago when, as this time round, he had headed the list of candidates for the city council. But it is still a stunning blow for a man who appeared to believe that his mandate to rule this country was a permanent one.

In Naples the vote was an overwhelming success for the antu-Berlusconi opposition, even if the PD was unable to elect its own candidate. Almost everyone agrees that Naples' current problems (garbage and camorra) were worsened by almost a decade of PD rule at both the city and regional level, and yet Berlusconi's party, the PdL, was unable to capitalize on this.

It is too soon to say what affect this will have on the national political scene here. One fact that does not bode well for the PD is that in the two larg metropoli, voters preferred maverick candidates to people on the PD's slate. Even more significantly, today's result certainly mean that Berlusconi, already weakened by problems within his coalition (not to mention his own judicial worries), is going to find the coming months very tough going. Watch this space and, in the meantime, "YIPPEE"!!

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