'Friulians voted for Berlusconi for want of anyone better'

Ferruccio Clavora

INTERVIEW with Ferruccio Clavora, a member of the CONSEU. He is a member of Friuli’s Slovenian community.

What effect do you think the results of the Italian general election will have in Friuli?
Well, we should start by saying that, as in other regions of the Italian state, the majority of people in Friuli voted for the winning coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi. But that doesn’t mean people have complete confidence in Berlusconi; it just means they voted for him for want of anyone better at a time when the political scene is in disarray following the collapse of the Prodi government.

Lega Nord (LN) increased its share of the vote in Friuli as well, but not by as much as in other parts of northern Italy because we don’t have the same problems here that LN focusses on, such as immigration and the high taxes big business pays to Rome. As for Friulian national identity, LN demonstrated a lack of political maturity by ignoring the demands of the Friulian nation.

How do you interpret the results of the “regional” and provincial elections in Friuli-Venezia Giulia from the national perspective?
At the regional level, the coalition that won is not especially sensitive to the national question. But Renzo Tondo, who is especially sensitive and pragmatic when it comes to Friuli’s particular problems, is at the head of the winning coalition. We’ll have to see who is put in charge of education and culture to see what the new government’s take on the national question is.

As for the Province of Udine, the only province where provincial elections were held, Pietro Fontanini was elected President and will lead a centre-right coalition that includes several politicians who are sensitive to the national question. Fontanini himself showed his interest in national identity politics as early as the 1980s when he took part in the first CONSEU. Let’s hope his government is favourable towards Friulian language and culture, considering the Province’s extensive powers in these domains.

Finally, we can’t really predict anything for the City of Udine, the capital of Friuli, because none of the candidates secured a majority and so we’ll have to wait for the results of the second round.

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