Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Neanch'io so che succede (I don't know what's going on, either)


Well, I guess you all know about as much as I do now. After the swings and roundabouts of last night, Italy is left in an electoral mess of the sort it hoped it had left behind.

With all but some (see below) votes counted, Berlusconi controls the Senate with 155 seats to Prodi's 154. Prodi has won the lower house by beating Berlusconi by 0.1%, automatically winning him an allocation of a majority 340 seats.

What's critical is that there are six Senate seats being voted for by Italians living abroad which haven't declared yet. Prodi says he expects to win four of those seats, giving him a one-seat majority over Berlusconi - though how he knows which way those seats will fall is anyone's guess.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, is spitting with fury in that charming way of his and demanding recounts. Mind you, given that he loses his immunity from prosecution the moment he stops being Prime Minister and a host of potential indictments may face him, he would probably demand a recount if he'd only polled 0.2% nationally.

Sadly, the live updates at La Repubblica aren't much help at the moment. I'll post again the moment I know more.

UPDATE: Another article in La Repubblica shows the basis for Prodi's optimism (in Italian only - the article, not Prodi's optimism). Based on results already being counted, Prodi looks set to take four seats, Berlusconi one and the Association of South American Italians one (there are loads of Italians in South America, but I don't know what they'll do with their one seat in the Italian Senate). Of course, if last night's events are anything to go by, we should learn not to trust press reports until the actual numbers are on the table.

Even then, this won't be allowed to rest. The Italian President, Carlo Ciampi, is one month away from the end of his term of office. A new President has to be appointed before the new government takes over (because the President appoints the government), and it was already agreed that Berlusconi would head a caretaker government in the meantime. Presumably he'll spend the time going round the governmental offices with a tube of Superglue, affixing his ministers and himself permanently to their chairs. I doubt the thought of bribing/bullying/threatening the new President to let him form the government has so much as even crossed his mind...

UPDATE: Another report in La Repubblica notes that Berlusconi got 66% of the votes in Iraq. From Italian ex-pats, that is. I wonder if they had ink on their fingers? No, just blood, probably.

UPDATE: It's over for now. Prodi got those four Senate seats, and Berlusconi only got one. So Prodi takes the Senate 159-156 and the lower house 340-277. Berlusconi hasn't said a word, but you can bet he's preparing another Florida 2000. Subject to legal challenge, the Berlusconi era is over. Bet he's not grinning now; although the plastic surgery has probably etched the grin onto his face permanently...


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