European Elections? Surprise! Take a Look at the List of Italian Parties
April 20 was the deadline for political parties participating in the European elections on June 6 and 7 to submit their parties’ logos to the Ministry of the Interior. There are 93 parties on the temporary list, and after a review by the electoral commission this number will be drastically reduced. This is in part because they must adhere to legal requirements, such as obtaining 500,000 signatures of ordinary citizens supporting the parties. Paradoxically, 93 parties appear on a “short” list, compared to the 181 on the list presented for the 2008 political elections. In many cases, the parties’ symbols are registered even if they will be eliminated by the commission. The reason for this useless procedure is not clear, but perhaps it is in response to the parties’ wish for a few minutes of fame. In fact in every Italian election, and they occur more often than one would think, whether it is a local, national, or European election, the press dedicates an inordinate amount of coverage to minor parties simply because of their odd names or the logos and symbols they have chosen. On the Ministry of the Interior’s website, there is an up-to-date list, demonstrating yet again that Italian creativity is unmistakable and cannot help but influence even a “boring” field such as politics.
Symbols of traditional parties like the PD (Democratic Party) or the PDL (People of Freedom) are included, but we can also see a sort of jumble of very extravagant logos. Various parties have hammers and sickles as symbols, a clear sign that the Communist Party in Italy is not completely dead, but rather has fragmented into many smaller parties that follow slightly different ideologies which require them to split into even smaller parties in order to distinguish themselves from other kinds of Communism, each one believing that it professes the “authentic” (or in Italy, “DOC”) ideology.
There are also lots of groups on the temporary list that aspire to the Christian Democracy of the past, the traditional Catholic center party that collapsed after the famous “clean hands” (mani politi) investigations that completely changed the country’s political landscape. The politically center position is always attractive to the majority of Italians, and that might be why so many parties have the “magic” words Christian and Democratic in their names and use the symbol of the crossed shield. This all goes without mentioning the many parties that aspire to the popularity of Lega Nord (the Northern League), the political party that advocates for the secession of the northern part of Italy from the rest of the country. So, along with the original Lega Nord, we find Lega Alleanza Lombarda, Indipendenza Veneta, Lega per l’Autonomia Lombarda, and even Grilli Parlanti–Lega Nord–No Euro.
Then there are the peculiar parties headed by Giuseppe Cirillo, a sexologist and author of several books on seduction. Attempting to develop his political capabilities, Dr. Cirillo has entered five parties on the list, parties whose names are among the best examples of Italian creative genius: Italy of Illness (Italia dei Malori), Unsatisfied and Misunderstood Women (Donne insoddisfatte e incomprese), Free Condoms (Preservativi gratis), and the Existentially Impotent Party (Partito impotenti esistenziali). The 45-year old Dr. Cirillo from Salerno has already presented the Free Condom party four times. After entering the Existentially Impotent Party in 2008, a movie was made in which Dr. Cirillo had the exclusive opportunity to work with the famous erotic director Tinto Brass as an actor in the film.
More than a political race, it seems to be in a competition in originality. Who could ever have imagined that there would be a party called the Young Poets of Action Movement (Movimento dei Giovani Poeti d’Azione)? Or that another party could name itself with such a lapidary statement such as I Love Italy and I Won’t Vote for the Province (Amo l’Italia non Voto la Provincia), which uses “It’s No Use, I Won’t Vote” (“Non Serve, Non Voto) as its slogan?
In the surprising list of Italian parties, modern phenomenon are also included, such as the www.youtube.it–Z EITGEIST–Non Basta Votare (It’s not enough to vote) party presented by a loosely-identified movement named the Spirit of the Times (Lo spirito del tempo).
There are a few parties on the list that have been inspired, evidently, by the French Revolution: Illegal Reparations (Recupero Maltolto); Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (Liberté egalité fratenité); Close the Province (Chiudiamo le province); Water Held in Common (Acqua bene commune); and No Amnesty (No amnistie). Another entry inspired by history is the Holy Roman Empire Liberal Catholic party (Sacro Romano Impero Liberale Cattolico) whose founder, Mirella Cece, has united smaller movements under the same name, like the Jurists of the Holy Roman Empire (Giuristi del Sacro Romano Impero), the European Liberal Christian Movement (Movimento europeo liberal cristiano), Justice and Liberty in all Areas in Space and Time (Giustizia e libertà a tutto campo, nel tempo e nello spazio).
Some logos have been created as a preventative measure, out of fear that older voters could be confused and vote for parties that have changed their names and logos. So, it’s not strange to see the Margherita (Daisy), the Quercia (Oak Tree), the Ulivo (Olive Tree), the Partito Democratico (Democratic Party), and Forza Italia (Forward Italy) to reappear on the list.
Now, it’s up to the Ministry of the Interior to decide which parties will be allowed to participate in the next European election. It appears certain, though, at least from reading this list of parties, that Italians are not only a people of saints, poets, and explorers, as the popular expression goes. We should update the description and include the impotent, as well as unsatisfied and misunderstood women…
(Edited by Giulia Prestia)