Behind yesterday’s images of Italian MPs waving Italian flags after confidence vote won by Berlusconi the shadows of bribery are unfolding.
According to opposition parties, Berlusconi corrupted several MPs to gather the votes he needed to win yesterday’s confidence vote. Besides the question of how a government can rule with such a narrow political majority, the issue of MPs compravendita (trade) is now the core of a parallel debate in Italy.
Over the last month several MPs left opposition parties and consequently abandoned their no-confidence positions while other MPs betrayed their previous declarations as they voted in favour of Berlusconi’s government.
Berlusconi’s victory yesterday was only a partial success. While Il Cavaliere had no troubles in the Senate, the vote in the Camera dei Deputati was won by only three votes. And these three votes are the hot issue.
Antonio Di Pietro, leader of Italia dei Valori opposition party, last Friday presented to Rome magistrates a series of documents that would prove the negotiations behind Berlusconi’s victory. Di Pietro argued several votes were literally bought by Berlusconi, who managed to corrupt several MPs picked up among opposition parties.
Although Italians are used to their politicians reviewing political views (and parties) quite often, yesterday’s afterthoughts seemed rather equivocal and incoherent.
This thesis appears more than a risky conjecture as Catia Polidori’s vote is considered. Polidori is a member of FLI, the party founded by Berlusconi’s ex ally Gianfranco Fini, who had declared his fellows were determined to vote against Berlusconi’s confidence. Thus he had to be rather surprised by Polidori’s betrayal yesterday afternoon, when she suddenly changed her mind and voted for the confidence.
However, according to FLI member Luca Barbareschi, her vote, though unexpected, was well-reasoned. Polidori indeed is the cousin of another well-known Polidori, owner of private university CEPU and on good terms with Berlusconi. Last July the Italian Prime Minister, after a visit to the University, declared his government had the intention to grant public funds to CEPU, equalizing Polidori’s telematic university with any ordinary private institutes.
When you receive a favour from your Prime Minister you’re expected to return it one day, Di Pietro and Barbareschi may agree.