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Friday, April 28, 2006

The Italian Senate is electing it's President

The Senate is almost equally divided between center left and center right. One very very odd feature of the Senate is that it has unelected members including former presidents of the Republic and "Senatori a vita" that is Senators for life. To be named a senator for life has typically been similar to being named a peer in England.
However, now the senatori a vita can decide votes. It was argued when it seemed that they might be necessary to give Prodi a majority that this is undemocratic. Now the same people support a Giulio Andreotti a senatore a vita as President of the Senate (and another Senatore a Vita who was honored for running Fiat into the ground declared that he voted for Andreotti). The center right is voting for Andreotti. This is mainly an effort to show how very thin Prodi's majority is as a first step to getting to new elections.

One important particular has not been mentioned in the extensive debate. Andreotti has been found by an Italian court to have been an ally of the mafia up untill 1980 (when the Corleonese seized control from the Palermitani). This did not imply a conviction for any crime, since the statue of limitations had run out. Andreotti could have asked for a trial on the merits to be conducted by the highest court of appeal. He chose not to.

For some totally mysterious reason, the sentence with the official finding that Andreotti has been an ally of the mafia was treated as a vindication and he is now being considered for a high office, officially the second highest office in the Republic after the President of the Republic.

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