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Pizza delivers threat to Italian election
It sounds like a joke headline, but it’s not.
The Italian election could be delayed because of a man called Giuseppe Pizza.
With less than two weeks until polling day, he succeeded in getting a court to overturn a decision to ban his Christian Democrat (DC) party from running. He had initially been banned from the election because the symbol of his tiny party – which appears on ballot papers – looked too similar to that of the larger Union of Christian Democrat (UDC) party.
The government hopes a higher court will overturn the appeal early next week. If it does not, the election could be delayed, Interior Minister Giuliano Amato has said. Both main contenders, Silvio Berlusconi and Walter Veltroni, want the vote to take place on schedule.
While the blip in proceedings has frustrated the main parties, it has injected a note of curiosity into what had been a strikingly dull campaign. And the fact the protagonist is named after Italy’s most famous food proved irresistible to journalists.
“Pizza’s Italy is a capricciosa (capricious one), poorly raised and badly baked — it lands on your stomach and stays there blocking everything,” said La Republicca, saying it was obligatory to play with the metaphor.
Il Messaggero punned on the word “bufala”, which is Italian for the best buffalo mozzarella used on pizza but is also slang for a blunder. It compared the electorally puny DC to an anchovy, whereas the mighty Christian Democratic party which dominated post-war Italy unill the early 1990s was known as the White Whale.
The only shame was that the Margherita party no longer exists. The centre-left party – whose name was meant to refer to a daisy rather than a cheese and tomato pizza – merged with an ally shortly before the election to produce the Democratic Party headed by Veltroni.