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The government

The way in which the government here is formed is a little confusing. I think I have worked it out, and anyway it’s in keeping with the Italian propensity for complexity. There are lots of little parties and some medium size parties.

None of the parties is able to get enough votes on its own to form a government, so what do they all do? Well, around election time they all get together and form little alliances. Then once the election is over and all the votes are in, one of these alliances can see whether it has got enough seats in parliament to be able to form a government.

If it has, then fine, it can go ahead, but it has to keep all its coalition partners sweet, so it generally gives people from all the little parties a position in parliament as minister for something or other. This is when the fun starts, because some of these ministers have views that are different from those of the majority coalition party. This leads to arguments, disputes, slowing things down, and more often than not collapsed governments.

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The political scene is lively here to say the least. One must give a little credit to Berlusconi for having held all the opposing mini-factions together for long enough to have kept the current government in power for record time. Cracks are showing and the Northern League, a nationalist party which would like to split north Italy from south Italy has been making disruptive noises yet again. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in some of the meetings which go on when there is a dispute. Who knows what strange promises are made.

Most Italians are a little bored with all the political goings on here, and many do not have the time to keep up with what is going on. This seems to work well for those in power because it often means they can sneak legislation through without it being noticed until it is too late. So maybe all the confusion is intentional, don’t know, but even if this is not the case, I’m sure there are plenty of people who are able to exploit the situation to their advantage. Italy needs some respectable new faces in my humble opinion. People who are honest and have a lot of integrity. I know, these qualities do not sit well with politicians.

It really is a game, as I believe one B Disraeli once commented.

Must go, got to get ready for an afternoons teaching to a bunch of people doing a Master course. Interesting people, stimulating course.

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