For the 62nd time since 1946 (yes, 62 years ago), Italians head to the polls next weekend to elect a new head of state, replacing the center-left government that collapsed earlier this year. The former mayor of Rome and media luvvy, Walter Veltroni, goes up against former PM and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi in a race that few Italians seem to have the stomach for. My dispirited lefty friends debate whether or not to even vote while my right-leaning friends are suspicious of a Berlusconi bis accomplishing anything other than kick-backs to his friends and squashing more criminal investigations into his past.
The Economist, in what's becoming a regular "leader" article, once again weighs in, imploring Italians not to vote for Berlusconi. They're not too high on Veltroni, but, crucially, he's not Berlusconi. (Berlusconi isn't the only one getting the cold shoulder from The Economist edit board this week, mind you. It's time for Robert Mugabe to go too, they write. Europe's richest man and Africa's most craven. Nice company).
Meanwhile, Italy narrowly averted a headline writer's dream this week. A small party, the Christian Democracy Party, threatened to hold up next week's election in a legal dispute over the vaguely similar party symbol used by the much more prominent rival, Union of Christian and Centre Democrats Party. The DC verses the UDC. The head of the DC is named, and no, I am not making this up, Giuseppe Pizza. Good old Giuseppe withdrew his legal challenge a few days later, and now the election is on again, robbing us all of the following headline:
Pizza Party delays Italian election
(The Guardian came the closest. Anyone else want to take a stab?)
There's just no joking about Italian politics.