Setting a bold course for the future, Italian Parliament re-elects 89-year-old President

21 Apr

ROME–seeking a decisive break with Italy’s long history of political paralysis and feeble leadership, the country’s Parliament re-elected 89-year-old President Giorgio Napolitano to a second term in office.

“I feel confident that President Napolitano is the right man to break the current political deadlock and exercise the kind of bold, principled leadership that I strive to reflect in my own life,” said former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. “I’m sure that as one of his first acts, he will extend parliamentary immunity for leaders who may be facing totally unfounded charges of corruption and so-called statutory rape.”

Comedian Beppo Grillo has shot to prominence in recent months due to his leadership of the Five-Star Movement, which seeks to end Italy’s political paralysis by refusing to engage in the political process and thus make the formation of any government impossible. Grillo’s reaction to Napolitano’s re-election was to call for a massive protest, which has also been his reaction to Berlusconi’s re-entry into political life, to recent changes to the Italian television schedule, and to a haircut he received recently.

Still, many within the Italian political system have not yet lost hope entirely. In a rare show of consensus, Parliament recently voted to send a delegation to the United States Senate, “to see an effective legislative body in action.”

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