Why Prodi will win
- The candidates. After comparing himself to Jesus and claiming that babies were boiled and used as fertilizers in Mao’s China, it is obvious that Berlusconi is crazy. We knew that before, but it is getting worse. On the other hand, Prodi’s character is more of a combination of a professor and a grand father. That’s not perfect, but it is better than being crazy.
- How Prodi was elected. More than four million activists of the center-left participated in a referendum that elected Prodi as their candidate. No less than 74 percent of the more than four million voted for him, so his mandate is very strong.
- Prodi’s election alliance (“L'Ulivo"). In 1998 the communist party withdrew their support for Prime Minister Prodi and caused his government's fall. This time around, “L'Ulivo” is broader but also stronger. It includes the old communists (Bertinotti and the Rifondazione Comunista), but also centrists as Antonia Di Pietro and Emma Bonini. Moreover, all parties of “L'Ulivo” have signed up to a very detailed election manifesto (281 pages). Broader and stronger!
- The Italian economy. The economy is struggling and The Economist recently portrayed Italy as “The real sick man of Europe”. Even big industry is withdrawing their support for Berlusconi, which is never a good sign for an incumbent, right-wing Prime Minister.
- "A lot of other things". Italian foreign policy has been messed up, close to Bush and full of scandals with Berlusconi (offered a German politician to act in a film about concentrations camps, remember?); Prodi won the first debate and has the momentum in the campaign; the trade union support for “L'Ulivo” (their political programs overlap to a very large extent), etc.
That’s what I think and hope. So, next Monday I am pretty sure I will raise a glass of good wine to Italy’s new Prime Minister.