Election Diary Vol. 2

Thu, 03/09/2006 - 06:00

Stefano Rossini is back with his Election Diary, this time looking at the types of posters being used in this year's election compared to other elections.

Italian electoral campaigning is leaving Italian people quite indifferent. This may be because electoral propaganda started over a year ago, when the left coalition won the regional elections and Romano Prodi came back from his European mandate.

But there is one kind of political communication that always interests Italian people: posters! Even since Berlusconi came into the scene, political posters have changed. When he started his own political career, every city was covered with mega posters with a very big face of Silvio Berlusconi and some straight-to-the-point slogan such as: “meno tasse per tutti” (less taxes for everybody).

The Italian's caustic sense of humour went to work at once mocking these early Berlusconi posters. During the first Berlusconi election you could find many internet websites holding posters’ travesties. The most famous was “Meno tasse per Totti” (Totti intended as the famous football player for the Roma club).

Now times have changed and while Berlusconi’s posters are bigger than ever the slogans aren’t so optimistic. So “Less taxes for everybody" has turned in “Do you want more taxes? No!”, and “More tax on your home? No!”. But all this has not saved Forza Italia’s posters from the derision of people.

Some took to adding to a simple red clown nose to Berlusconi’s face (you can take a look at an example here). An action that was not very appreciated by Berlusconi's party or Berlusconi himself and, as always, Berlusconi accused the generic "communists" that seem to plague Italy. A constant slogan of this Berlusconi campagain is the "communist threat" that even Berlusconi's allies are slightly embarrassed.

Berlusconi’s allies Gianfranco Fini and Pierferdinando Casini, respectively chief of Alleanza Nazionale, the right-wing party, and UdC, centre party, have followed in the steps of the leader and made equally large and personalised posters. Even Romano Prodi, after having accused the right-wing parties, has made his own in more or less the same way. He should have remembered that during the last election Francesco Rutelli did the same thing and lost!

Romano Prodi had to face up to another gaffe last week. In the aftermath of the Enel-Suez affair he openly accused Berlusconi’s government of negligence, instead of defending the Italian economy. The day after , he tried to make up for his apparent lack of patriotism, accusing the French government of interference, but the damage, in this media-driven electoral campaign was already done.