Custom Search
Special Issues
 

Anthony A. Kila
Director of Studies, ESL
European Centre for Advanced and Professional Studies
Cambridge England
United Kingdom
Send mail to: Anthony A. Kila |
more articles by Kila

Nigerian
News
 
The Italian Festa.

 

In the end and against all odds, the people won and they elected their candidates. Results came out immediately the same day they voted and the people took to the street to celebrate. Playing the devil’s advocate, I teasingly told my Italian parliamentarian friend that they were exaggerating their success; after all, it was just some local elections. “No Prof, She thoughtfully replied, “this is more than elections it is about people victory”.

Our notes will be incomplete if we do not pause to invite some reflections upon some of the events that took place beyond our shores last week. For whilst we were following the state organized inauguration ceremonies of newly elected officials across Nigeria, with some wondering if the spectacles were worth the tabs, and others speculating on who will be nominated by the elected, Italians were partying across their cities and giving the world some useful lessons on what democracy is all about: the primacy of people.

 

Italians poured into their streets, took over their squares and yes that Italy, land of saints, poets and navigators, lately more known for its handbags, shoes, football and prime minister became the land of ravers of all ages last week. The reason for such manifestations were the results of their local or state elections, which for some distant observers is merely a victory of the opposition parties of the centre left coalition over the incumbent centre right party. Italian citizens however know better, they know what they were celebrating was people power. They know that the results were about them, the people, and that their victory goes beyond party politics. In many cases, it was even a victory against party politics.

The mayoral elections that led to these feste was across the whole country and Milan, the commercial capital of Italy, where Giuliano Pisapia, the challenger, defeated Letizia Morati, the incumbent Mayor, epitomized it all. It must be said, this is not the first time Milan is proving to be the heart and starting point of many things Italian. After all, it is the cradle city of the Italian Risorgimento, socialism, fascism and in our own time “clean hands and the Berlusconi phenomenon. The sitting prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi was biologically, commercially and politically born in Milan, the city considered by all to be his stronghold and even feud by some, little wonder Berlusconi took the battle personal. It was a battle for his power base.

In Milan and elsewhere in the country, whilst party leaders were proposing to face the election in their usual mechanical and pragmatic way, the people said No! They did so through primary elections, there are some lessons to learn here. For starters, those primaries were open to voters not limited to party delegates and therein lies a great difference between that process and many other systems. During the primaries, Italian voters opted for outsiders not party ordained candidates. In Milan, they choose Giuliano Pisapia, a jurist, writer and activist with a history of left wing militancy, a candidate main opposition parties saw as too risky to be their flag bearer in a politically conservative and business centered city. On paper, he stood no chance, when results of the primaries were announced and he won, Pisapia himself appreciated his victory was against all odds, he tagged it a miracle and quickly recognized it was the people’s victory.

The campaign that ensued the primaries was more than tough. It was vitriolic, vulgar and littered with insults and accusations. The strategy of the centre right party was to scare the voters and jolt them back to their sense; their main tactics were built on xenophobia, division and exclusion. They were bent on portraying the centre left candidate as too soft and set to squander the wealth of the city. Berlusconi personally led the campaign and went in front of the camera to say "If Pisapia wins, Milan will became a Muslim town, a Gypsyville, a city besieged by foreigners," and many of his allies echoed him. By the way, in the midst of all these, Europe and the EPP, to which Berlusconi’s party belongs in the EU was rather mute. The Catholic Church however spoke up and some bishops showed courage and principle.

Pisapia went about his campaign with a meek smile, banking on the people he remained on the stump addressing whoever will listen to him. He was not a great orator though. The most fascinating reaction however came from the people; they reacted to intimidation and nastiness with a feast of poetry, satires, parodies and ironic comments. You tube, face book, twitter and the internet in general, was inundated homemade campaign, slogans and messages that was far more efficient and livelier than what the official campaign team put in place. People of different ages and background took to the streets to affix posters for their campaign. Artists and writers took to the stage to declare their support and to encourage people to be resilient.

In the end and against all odds, the people won and they elected their candidates. Results came out immediately the same day they voted and the people took to the street to celebrate. Playing the devil’s advocate, I teasingly told my Italian parliamentarian friend that they were exaggerating their success; after all, it was just some local elections. “No Prof, She thoughtfully replied, “this is more than elections it is about people victory”. Yes, you are right Honorable; it is an Italian Festa of the people.

Auguri Italia!   

  Unique visitors: 180

 
 

Disclaimer
The Views and Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual writers not those of NigerianNews. All facts and their accuracies are the responsibilities of the authors. Please also note that some authors may use pseudo names or generic emails, to which NigerianNews has no way of verifying. Therefore an author's identity should not be inferred on the basis of name, subject matter, or any other characterization presented here. NigerianNews is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

 
 

Privacy Policy