Italian comedian Beppe Grillo called on the Italian electorate to boycott yesterday's parliamentary elections. On his blog, considered by Technorati as one of the world's top ten most popular, he slates the corruption of Italian politicians and the dependency of the media. Here, he comments on the elections for the Observers.
Comedian and blogger Beppe Grillo:
Corruption is an integral part of the Italian political structure. The concentration of media, economic and political power shared between just a few hands prevents democracy from working properly. ABI [The Association of Italian Banks], Confindustria [union of Italian owners], Mediaset [Berlusconi's broadcasting group] and the political parties are the "magnificent four"; they control the country and misinform the public.
When Italian people turn on the TV or open their newspaper, they're sprinkled with some uniform and partisan information, controlled by this group of four. But these are the consumers and voters of the country! It's essential that they are properly informed. Disinformation is today worse than political corruption. Without information, a country simply cannot be free.
On April 25 we're organising V-2 Day [Vaffanculo, or "fuck you" day two], when we're going to propose a referendum on the Gaspori law [a controversial law about the regulation of the media voted in during Berlusconi's last reign]. We're going to demand the abolition of both the ‘professional order of journalists', created by Mussolini, and the thousands of euros paid to newspaper editors by the state.
Blogs have let voters spread information; to become kind of journalists. But they must also be responsible and build a good reputation. It's thanks to this new media that I can communicate so much with the people."
Posted by "victorgrafico" 13 April 08
In the run up to the election Grillo toured the country from town to town criticising politicians. Here he's in Treviso.
A video from Beppe Grillo's committee. Each time the voter decides where to place his vote, the music from that party starts playing.
Beppe Lamandini, a voter at a polling station in Castello d'Argile, explains his reasons for not voting:
I'm an Italian citizen in a polling booth.
In 2006, we had a coup d'etat in Italy and nobody said a word.
With Calderoli's justice system, Berlusconi has put in place an anti-constitutional electoral law that goes against the European Convention on Human Rights in three ways
Firstly, as a voter, I don't have the possibility to choose somebody that represents me in Parliament because the lists are "closed".
The attribution of a majority win is not subordinated by any threshold minimum.
The post of Prime Minister is not marked on the ballot slip.
For these reasons, I am going to get my ballot paper only to return it without voting."