Voting in Italy is complicated at best.

It’s not my job to advise you how to vote in the upcoming election.  Most of you have probably already done so by mail but I do have some comments about the system.

Complicated doesn’t even begin to describe the minefield Italian voters will find themselves in on March 4th.  A new system of voting is in place and it appears to be even more complicated than the previous one.  If you put your cross or any other mark in the wrong place your ballot will be void.  5 million voided ballots are expected!  Most people will vote just for the party and not even try to choose their preferred candidate for fear of spoiling the ballot.

If you are interested a great article can be found here

It intrigues me how a country can bend the rules to suit any situation.  For example.  A convicted felon cannot hold a seat in parliament.  However, they can form a political party and control it from the sidelines.  Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo are both doing just that.  In fact, Silvio has just purchased the soccer team AC Milan from the bankrupt Chinese business man to whom he sold it, just in time for this magnanimous gesture to ‘buy’ him, well his party, more votes on March 4th.  The name of his party is ‘Forza Italia’ the battle cry of the Italian National Soccer team.  How cool is that?

Other political parties have some entertaining names, Fratelli D’Italia, is the first line of the national anthem.  Then there are two which must not be confused.  L’Italia è Populare and Italia Populare.  Italia di Valori (Italy of Values), Il Popolo della famiglia (The People of the Family), Movimento 5 Stelle (5 Star Movement) etc etc.  Each with their own special insignia that you need to memorize before heading to the polls.

I have asked questions of so many people about voting and political parties and never get the same answer twice.  Even my husband, who watches political discussion programmes non-stop cannot explain things to my satisfaction.  Voting is the only benefit becoming an Italian citizen will have for me.  Since none of it makes any sense to me, I think I will remain a British-Canadian watching with interest from the sidelines.  It pains me not to exercise this basic of all rights but I hate to participate in things I do not understand.  For now at least, I’ll stick to searching for your Italian roots.



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