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Italian Politics: Can You Keep Track?


Anyone who thinks the American political system is confusing is warned to not even attempt to figure out the Italian political system. (“System” might be a bit of a strong word to use there.) The husband actually did a bit of research into the whole process for an Italian class last year – I’ll try to get the electronic file from him to post it at a later date.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like Italian elections would be so different from any other – they’re electing members to Parliament, they’re electing a Prime Minister. Sounds familiar, right? So far, it is relatively familiar. It’s when we start talking about Italian political parties that my eyes glaze over. There are political coalitions which form, but there are so many political parties within those coalitions that I’m convinced some of them are populated by only the members of one household. Each party has its own insignia, like the daisy at left, so the list of parties can be quite colorful.

For an overview of politics in Italy, here’s the Wikipedia entry, including a doozy of a chart listing the political parties.

And if all of that weren’t complicated enough, criticizing the government can also be dicey. Accusations that former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi committed fraud during last year’s general election have been shelved, and the people who made the allegations are now facing charges of “spreading false information with a view to breaching the peace.”

I doubt I’d pay very close attention to Italian politics even if I lived there, if for no other reason than I can’t seem to figure it all out. Then again, who knows – maybe it’ll be like language, and once immersed in it all it will become painfully clear…