The confusing nature of Italian politics



(Some of the endless candidates in the wasteful paper trail of Italian elections)




On this Sunday the twenty-eight of October we are destined to have regional elections here in Sicily as well as in other parts of Italy. What this usually entails is a variety of colourful political manifestations, which we haven’t seen much of this time around. 


During an Italian political campaign there normally is a buzz of activity with candidates sweeping through each town hunting voters down, deafening them with loud speakers and hitting them over the head with a mountain of promises often at free banquets. There have been no locals pacing up and down the main square divided into various political factions each group huddling together gesticulating to one another trying to understand the general vibe in brief public factional congresses. There is a distinct absence of cheering, clapping or booing during political speeches on the small scaffolding stage set up for the occasion.


This time around things have been terribly subdued, apart from the odd SMS, email, postal how to vote cards and posters on billboards you can hardly tell there even is an election campaign.


The major candidates have stuck to the larger cities. The most interesting event has been the ongoing development of the new political party set up by well known political satirist Beppe Grillo who is nominating ‘non politicians’ to do the work of revitalizing Italy. Grillo has swept through Sicily.


Most people who went to see Beppe give his monologue of laments against all current Italian politicians and the endless examples of corruption and misspent funds (he’s got endless material and he’s been all over Facebook). Grillo isn’t a politician and even if his movement for change is taking away a good percentage of votes away from the major parties he is seen as a novelty at best.


The reality of this quiet electoral period is that most Italian’s don’t want to know about the elections and probably won’t vote at all (here in Italy voting isn’t compulsory).


There is a great sense of disillusionment with the political situation of Italy and the taxes in Mario Monti’s provisional national government’s austerity programs have hit Italian’s very hard.


It’s sad to see how people have lost faith in politics to change things in this historically very politically active country. The current climate has created a real sense of dread in all Italians.

A sombre campaign and low voter turn out will continue to illustrate the new climate of disinterest.


These are dark times in the usually colourful, collective heart of Italy.


The Unwilling Expat