07 April 2006

Election in the Eternal City

((This was drafted in a hotel room in Rome and edited slightly afterwards to avoid obvious errors)).

It's not every day that you get to see a head of state.

The foreign head of state I saw was President Ciampi of Italy. He was entering a building with the headquarters of the Sovereign Order of Malta at 68 via Condotti.

As he got out, he was met with applause and cries of 'Bravo'.

I got a photo of him- as you can see here:

This was taken on our way to the Vatican but what I saw there can be discussed another time if you want.

Italy as you may know has its election on Sunday and Monday. Since I happened to be in the city a few days beforehand, I decided to report back to you, my readers.

So here are a few of the posters that I saw as I toured the city. My Italian is practically non-existent so I apologise in advance for any errors in translation.

Parties in Europe seem far more willing to use pictures of their leaders and candidates in election poster. I don't know why. Can you imagine Tony Blair appearing on a Labour poster?

This one's for the Socialist Liberal Radicals 'laici'. I notice that in Italy that a cross through something means vote for it- it has a different meaning in Britain.

I think this means they oppose state funding of private schools.

Here's the incumbents- Forza Italia. It's announcing that Berlusconi is speaking in Rome on the 5th (this was taken on the 4th).

Here's Ulivo. This one's a 'meet the candidates' poster- who want to innovate Italy in the future.

The Communists are still pretty big in Italy (partly because they completely disassociated themselves from the Soviet Union early after the war). I don't know why 'Sinistra' is a registered trademark (I assume that's what it means- it does so in Britain)- could someone enlighten me?

From 'meet the candidates' to 'party with the candidates'. These guys look just a little too happy.

I've never heard of these people- can someone enlighten me?

If you don't like any of the parties, you can vote with your fingers and watch TV (there was one of the Fonz from Happy Days as well).

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