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Former Communist is Front Runner in Italian Election

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 20, 2013 Last Updated: February 21, 2013
Related articles: World » Europe
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The leader of the Democratic Party Pier Luigi Bersani (R) after an address by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (not pictured) to the Parliament during a session on Dec. 13, 2010, in Rome. Bersani is likely to win the Italian election on Feb. 24–25, 2013, and may bring leftist principles to the office. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

The leader of the Democratic Party Pier Luigi Bersani (R) after an address by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (not pictured) to the Parliament during a session on Dec. 13, 2010, in Rome. Bersani is likely to win the Italian election on Feb. 24–25, 2013, and may bring leftist principles to the office. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Likely to take Mario Monti’s seat as Prime Minister in Italy’s elections on Feb. 24–25, Pier Luigi Bersani may revive some communist leanings in the nation’s administration.

Bersani is a Democratic Party member now, but his roots are in the Italian Communist Party. He has drawn on the support of communist networks in his campaign—as Monti has continually jibed him for ties to militant unions, notes a Time Magazine article published Feb. 20.

In a recent interview with Harvard International Review, political analyst Roberto D’Alimonte said Italy’s former communists maintain a leftist approach to labor and tax legislation in particular.

A leftist agenda of raising taxes would not be widely supported by the Italian people, said D’Alimonte. “Italy’s level of taxation is too high. It is so high that people are motivated to evade it. We have to bring down the level of taxation to fight better against tax evasion.”

U.S. President Barack Obama would rather see Monti gain power and form his own coalition, said D’Alimonte, but Bersani is favored to win the vote. Bersani will not likely gain a majority in Senate, and will form a coalition with Monti. 

The chances of Bersani forming a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi are “zero,” D’Alimonte said. 

Jonathan Hopkin, a political scientist at the London School of Economics, told Time that Bersani’s “strongest point is he’s the opposite of Berlusconi. … Berlusconi is a showman. He (Bersani) is not entertaining.”

Bersani has had his share of trouble uniting former Communist militants and former Christian Democrats in his Democratic Party, notes Time. Now, he will face the challenge of stabilizing Italy’s ailing economy as part of the eurozone. 

D’Alimonte predicts a shift from austerity measures to a focus on growth.

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