In the home country, new hopes appear to be surging from the depths, washing in waves the soiled consciences of many. The latest local elections didn’t compliment our current ruling coalition, which is undoubtedly only fair and good. At the long last, that lousy government of ours is starting to show some tangible sign of weakness. This is evidence that even the numbed flocks — AKA the voters — can sometimes get tired, if you go too far. Not out of understanding, but out of exasperation.
An abrogative referendum, which could eventually lead to a serious (hooray!) government crisis, is coming in a little more than ten days. The issues involved concern nuclear energy, water privatization and most importantly, immunity of the PM from criminal prosecution. The recent Fukushima emergency strengthened opposition against development of nuclear power plants on Italian territory, which would very likely lead to Berlusconi’s coalition defeat. Just for the record: another referendum on nuclear energy took place in 1987, following the infamous Chernobyl disaster. Is this fate? Perhaps it is. Berlusconi & Co. are fully aware of the risks of letting voters have their say on this particular occasion, as they impudently stated themselves. Therefore they tried all they could in the course of the last months to suspend the voting on the issue of nuclear power, since they know too well the nuclear controversy will likely be the trigger that will bring electors to overthrow them — and this also means Berlusconi will no longer be immune from criminal prosecution. Italians are on average very apathetic, but if you scare them properly, you never know what could happen. Fukushima’s catastrophe, like Chernobyl in 1987, caused a quake — no pun intended — in the public opinion.
As expats registered to AIRE (the equivalent of the registry office for Italians residing abroad), we’re given the right to vote in the upcoming referendum. This will be the first time expats can vote from abroad in a referendum. We were sent our voting papers a few days ago and we were ready to use them. Unfortunately, it turns out that a recent Court ruling decreed the questions regarding nuclear power abrogation in the said referendum will have to be adjusted, thus making the ballot papers we were sent not valid anymore. There is not much time left though: what will we do? Will we still be able to vote on this crucial occasion? More than once, votes from nationals residing abroad had decisive weight on final results in Italy elections.
The 2nd of June is Republic Day in Italy. This celebration commemorates yet another referendum: the institutional popular vote held in 1946, just after the end of WWII and the fall of Fascism, in which Italians were called to decide on the country’s form of government. Beware the masses, for their power can be overwhelming.