Statewatch article: RefNo# 24902
Italy: Racism and fascism
Statewatch archive
Italy: Racism and fascism
artdoc April=1995

European elections - the share of the vote

In the European elections, Forza Italia increased its share of
the vote to 30% from 21.6% at the general election in March. The
National Alliance (AN) won 12.5% of the vote, compared with 13.5%
in the general election. But the Northern League's share of the
vote dropped by more than a fifth, compared with last March. The
League's vote declined in its former northern heartlands,
particularly the big cities like Venice and Milan. According to
Silvio Berlusconi, the Northern League's decline was the product
of its provocative display of disloyalty to the coalition. The
Financial Times, however, argues that Forza Italia has become an
attractive alternative for those who mistrust the League's
regional narcisism and wish to see a renovated version of the old
Christian Democrats ruling Italy. As Berlusconi need no longer
consider the League a permanent partner in the coalition, the
pressure is now on Bossi to cooperate. Forza Italia is believed
to have spent more than all the other parties combined on its
electoral campaign, In fact, its budget was 15 times as much as
the next biggest party, the PDS (Independent 10.6.94, Financial
Times 14.6.94).

Government policy

Controversial new prison decree

Judges and Forza Italia politicians were pitted against each
other when Berlusconi attempted to introduce a controversial
decree aiming to limit pre-trial detention. The decree was
eventually thrown out by parliament, but not before 2000 people
had been released from detention and judges in charge of Italy's
anti-corruption drive asked to be transferred to other duties.
Two executives of Berlusconi's media group, Fininvest, were
arrested days after Berlusconi dropped his emergency decree.
Intense pressure and public criticism forced Berlusconi to
concede that the decree could be amended in parliament. The
Parliamentary Constitutional Affairs Committee, which decides
whether measures are at odds with the constitution, is to examine
the decree. Under Italian law, decrees remain in force for 60
days before they have to be renewed by the government or endorsed
by parliament.
At the centre of concern, is the government's `Clean-Hands'
anti-corruption campaign which has seen hundreds of businessmen
and politicians jailed before trial. Judges argue that custodial
orders are essential to the inquiry's success. But the president
of the Italian section of the International Federation of Human
Rights said the decree is in line with international legislation,
disregarded up till now by the judiciary(Guardian 15,16,19.7.94,
Observer 24.7.94).

Attacks on media independence

A fresh board of directors has been named to take over Italy's
state-owned broadcasting corporation. All but one of the five new
directors of RAI is a business executive; all but one is a
rightwinger. The editor of La Voce, Indro Montanelli has launched
a campaign to preserve the freedom of the press. Berlusconi had
argued that he regarded it as anomalous that in a democratic
state there should exist a public service which is against the
parliamentary majority (Guardian 8.6, 13.7.94).

Berlusconi to control bank appointments

Silvio Berlusconi has announced his intention to control senior
appointments to the Bank of Italy, raising the question of the
conflict of the prime minister's personal and public interests.
Berlusconi's Fininvest has a massive corporate debt and it is
thus in Berlusconi's interest to keep interest rates low
(Independent 5.7.94).

Controversy over new ministry for Family and Social Affairs

Women, Roma and Gay organisations have expressed concern at the
role of the new Ministry for Family and Social Affairs.
The feminist organisation, Noi Donne, has drawn attention to a
motion presented to the Senate by FI/AN/LN senators suggesting
that the role of the new ministry should be to `protect th

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