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La Stampa - April 10, 2013

In 1992 the Mafia attacks influenced the vote, this year Anti-politics dominates

by Fabio Martini

It was May 1992. Till that Saturday Afternoon, the competition between the two potential presidents of the Republic was tainted by tremendous hypocrisies. Never Known before. In the preceding days, Arnaldo Forlani, 66 years old, Secretary of Christian Democrat Dc, was convinced to nominate himself, however, in the first votes he was abandoned by his fellows, and his Rival, Giulio Andreotti, 73 years old, Prime Minister- who got rid of his rival- was ready to make the “regional electors” vote for him. But that Saturday afternoon of 23 May 1992, everything changed: From Capaci arrived the news of the brutal assassination of the judge Giovanni Falcone and among the most significant testimonies was that of Claudio Petruccioli, one of the top leaders of the Christian Democrat Party. He was contacted by Nino Cristofori, Andreotti’s right hand man, and asked to meet him urgently. Petruccioli writes in his diary: “I was preparing the umpteenth draft of the emergency speech: we are at a crucial point, we should bring the unity back, who’s better than Giulio…I did a mistake and Cristofori became very pale. He and his boss interpreted the slaughter as a direct attack.

Few hours later, Parliament Chambers in a joint session elected a personality that in the preceding days was launched by the Radicals in a general indifference: the outsider Oscar Luigi Scalfaro.

Never before those days, the running for the Presidency was so strongly influenced by an “external factor”. And this time? In which way the current mistrust in the parties will influence the run for the presidency? In which way the impetuous, emotive, wide and influential world of the Web will influence the moves of the parties? In the 67 years of the presidential history there is at least one precedence in which the “external factor” influenced the election of the President. If in 1992 the mafia “contributed” to the election of a President less favored by the parties, fourteen years before the terrorism of the brigades and the traumatized public opinion, contributed indirectly to the appearance of an absolute outsider like Sandro Pertini. It was in 1978, the national solidarity was politically governing, but the spirit at that time was influenced by the brigades’ assault which led few weeks before to the killing of Aldo Moro. The parties realized that it was not time for big names, but there was a need to choose a personality capable of “talking” to the nation. From the trio Christian Democrat Dc- Italian Communist Party Pci- Italian Republican Party Pri- two names emerged (Benigno Zaccagnini and Ugo La Malfa), but the socialists claimed the presidency and the others, launched Sandro Pertini, anti-fascism hero: elected with a percentage of 83.6%, the highest in Italian history.

How about the successor of Napolitano? The common characteristic among the main favorite candidates on which the negotiation are concentrating (Franco Marini, Giuliano Amato, Anna Maria Cancellieri, Paola Severino) is that all rank behind in the surveys, whether conducted by specialized institutes or those published online by newspapers and magazines, and even if they do not have a scientific value, in these days they are becoming popular. The curious aspect of the online surveys is their unified outcome: besides dropping the “Palace” candidates, they promote the same three candidates. Yesterday evening at 08.00 pm, in the survey conducted by Corriere della Sera showed the name of Emma Bonino on the first palce with 30.1%, followed by Romano Prodi with 13% and the third was Stefano Rodotà with 8.2%. The same classification on “La Stampa-Web”: first Bonino (24%), second Prodi (16%) and third Rodotà (12%). The same classification for “L’Espresso”. Very interesting is the survey by “Il Fatto Quotidiano”, whose readers are mostly voters of the five stars movement whose followers are called for an online consultation within days that will be binding for the movement parliamentarians. And if the consultation will result in a non-party candidate, but appreciated by the Democratic Party electorate, that will mean more problems for Bersani. As suggested by the survey of Il Fatto quotidiano, Bonino comes first (20.4%), followed by Rodotà (16%) and Prodi (12.2%). On Saturday, Marco Travaglia wrote a slating article on Il Fatto Quotidiano against the Radical exponent, however in the following days, the order of the classification with Bonino on top has not changed.


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