Tag Archives: Antonio Bassolino

Where has all the garbage gone?

Anthony M. Quattrone

Ferrandelle landfill (photo "La Repubblica" 13 May 2009, Naples Edition)

Where has all the garbage gone? This is the question that many in Naples are asking.

The crisis that overtook the city and many parts of the Campania Region between the summers of 2006 and 2008 seems to have been miraculously resolved with the change in government in May 2008, when the center-right coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi replaced Romano Prodi’s ailing center-left administration. Berlusconi had promised the electorate that, if elected, he would have resolved the region’s waste disposal crisis as a matter of national emergency, linking the worldwide negative press, with front page photos of Naples submerged in garbage, to potential economic repercussions on the whole of the “Italy system”, ranging from tourism to products “made in Italy”.

There is no doubt that Berlusconi has successfully freed the streets of Naples from mountains of garbage, which up to now, with very few exceptions, have not returned. There is also no doubt that his success in removing garbage from the sights of the citizenry has been instrumental in leading the center-right coalition to win three major elections held over the past year in Naples and Campania. In May 2008, Berlusconi’s coalition won a majority of seats in Campania for the European Parliament, and placed Luigi Cesaro to head the provincial government of Naples. Last March, Berlusconi’s coalition, supported by the Union of Democrats of the Center, successfully won the elections, leading Stefano Caldoro to replace Antonio Bassolino as governor of the Campania Region. Bassolino has been blamed by the media as the principal politician responsible for the garbage crisis in Campania.

Has Berlusconi solved the problem? If yes, is it solved on a permanent basis? If yes, is it solved in a legally sustainable basis? These questions are surfacing in a series of investigate reports by local and national journalists. Read the whole article

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Stefano Caldoro’s center right coalition wins in Campania

Stefano Caldoro with Premier Silvio Berlusconi on 18 March 2010 during the campaign for governor of the Campania Region (photo from Caldoro's campaign site at http://www.caldoropresidente.it/foto/)

Stefano Caldoro, the candidate for the center-right coalition for governor of the Campania Region, has won the elections held on 28 and 29 March 2010, and the parties in his coalition have also conquered the majority of seats in the Regional Council. Caldoro took 54.25% of the vote, against Vicenzo de Luca, the candidate for the center-left coalition, who earned 43.04%, Paolo Ferrero, with 1.35%, who ran for the “federation of the left”, and Roberto Fico with 1.34%, representing another leftist formation, the “five stars movement”. Caldoro will be replacing Antonio Bassolino, the outgoing center-left governor, who held the post for the past ten years.

Only 62.96% of the approximately 5 million eligible voters cast their ballots during the elections in Campania.

The results in Campania follow the general trend in the elections held in ten other Italian regions. The results allow Premier Silvio Berlusconi to claim victory for his center-right government because his coalition has increased the regional governments that it administers from two to six, leaving four to the center left. The center-right won in Campania, Lazio, Piedmont, and Calabria, and it held on to Lombardy and Veneto. The center-left was able to hold on only to five regions: Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria, and Basilicata.

In Campania, Stefano Caldoro’s victory was cheered by those who are seeking a total break with the style of the outgoing governor, Antonio Bassolino, whose administration was marred by the accusation of cronyism, favoritism, and overall inefficiency. During the Bassolino years, the region has been at the center of international attention due to the garbage crisis. Stefano Caldoro is particularly concerned that Bassolino is continuing to make political appointments to regionally managed firms while he is on his way out, without coordinating such appointments with the incoming government. Continue reading

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Campania votes on 28 and 29 March 2010

Antonio Bassolino, outgoing president of the Campania Region (photo from the official Campania Region website)

Anthony M. Quattrone

On 28 and 29 March 2010, approximately 5 million citizens of the Campania Region will be eligible to vote to select the new president of the region and to renew the Regional Council.  Campania is the second most-populous region of Italy with a population of around 5.7 million. It is also the most densely populated region in the country.

The outgoing president of the region is Antonio Bassolino, a former member of the Italian Communist Party and one of the founding fathers of the Democratic Party.  Bassolino was a very successful mayor of Naples, serving two terms from 1994 to 1998.  His successful first term was rewarded at the polls in 1997, when he won 72.9% of the vote.  In 1998, he resigned his post as mayor to become minister of labor and social security in the government of Massimo D’Alema.  After the assassination of his close advisor, Massimo D’Antona, in 1999, by the leftist terrorists, Bassolino resigned his post as minister and returned to Naples to compete for the post of President of the Campania Region.  He was elected to the post in 2000, with 54.3% of the vote.  He was re-elected in 2005 with 61.6% of the vote.  Bassolino’s last term in office has been marred by numerous scandals involving the role of consultants and by the inability of the Region to manage the garbage crises that hit Naples and the whole of the Campania Region several times during his second term as president.

A center left coalition also holds the majority of the seats in the outgoing regional council, which is composed of 60 members.  The outgoing president of the Regional Council, Sandra Lonardo, is in a very interesting, albeit, contradictory position.  She is the wife of the former center-left minister of Justice, Clemente Mastella, who resigned his post in the government led by Romano Prodi on 16 January 2008, after that his wife was placed under house arrest as a consequence of her indictment for corruption.  Mastella’s resignation, and the subsequent withdrawal of his party, the UDEUR, from the center-left coalition, caused the fall of the Prodi government, and the decision by the President of the Republic to call for new national elections, which brought the center right coalition, led by Silvio Berlusconi, back to power.  Today, Clemente Mastella is a member of the European Parliament, representing Berlusconi’s Pdl Parly, while his wife, Sandra Lonardo, is still a member of the center left formation in the outgoing Regional Council, but she is running with Berlusconi’s center right coalition, supporting Stefano Caldoro for president of the Region.  The UDEUR, led by Mastella and Lonardo, is quite popular in Benevento and the surrounding areas, and might very well determine the outcome of the elections in Campania.

The two main candidates for the position of President of the Campania region are Stefano Caldoro for the center right coalition led by Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà (Pdl) party, and Vincenzo De Luca for the center left coalition, led by two major parties, the Democratic Party (Pd) and the Italia dei Valori (Idv – Italy of Values).  According to a poll conducted by SWG on behalf of the Corriere del Mezzogiorno, the race is too close to call for the position of President, but the center right parties are in the lead of over 12 points for obtaining the majority of seats in the Council.  The election rules allow citizens to vote separately for the Council and for the president.

The center left candidate, De Luca, who is the current mayor of the city of Salerno, is also well liked by centrist and conservative voters for the very tough stand on crime and illegal immigration that he has taken in the city of Salerno.  For this reason, De Luca is often referred to as the “sheriff”.  De Luca is also credited by voters from the left and the right for having taken a very critical stand of his party colleague, Antonio Bassolino, opposing the former’s candidate for the election to mayor of Salerno in 2006. De Luca beat the official candidates of the center right and center left coalitions by running as an independent.

The center right candidate, Stefano Caldoro, a former member of the Italian Socialist Pary, has held the post of under secretary, vice minister, and minister in two Berlusconi governments over the past decade, but he has no specific administrative experience either at the city or regional level. He is currently a member of parliament, where he has been elected to the House in 2008 with the Pdl party.

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