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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 19 febbraio 2013 alle ore 06:41.


Italian politics is so contentious that candidates can't even agree how and when to face each other on TV. It is a paradox. Italian television is "occupied" by politics. The three public networks have always been "carved up" between political forces. The three largest private networks are owned by the Berlusconi family, while the future of the "small" La7 is being decided these days.

During the election campaign candidates participate in broadcasts from first thing in the morning until last thing at night. Yet, almost on the eve of the vote, voters are denied the opportunity to see candidates on a match live on television. There is little tradition of televised political duels. The reason is simple: you go on television to confront your adversary only when it is convenient. In 2001 and 2008, Silvio Berlusconi rejected the idea of a televised debate: in both cases, the polls had him out in front and therefore he didn't grant his opponents the opportunity to challenge him in front of voters-tv-viewers. The facts proved him right: in both cases he won the elections.
Now the Cavaliere finds that the boot is on the other foot: he is in pursuit of the PD. A face to face on TV would be a good opportunity to further reduce the gap between himself and Pier Luigi Bersani. Maybe he could launch another shock proposal, as he did in 2006 during a TV challenge with Prodi, in which he promised the abolition of tax on first homes. That move took him to a hair's breadth away from victory and reduced the margin between himself and the center-left. Like all the other candidates Berlusconi has his conditions: the Cavaliere does not intend to go head to head with Monti preferring to challenge only Bersani. Berlusconi proposes himself as the only opponent of the center-left coalition. The role of being the only one standing in the way of a left wing return to government means Berlusconi has to convince the undecided electorate to vote for his coalition.

The person who has more to gain by challenging opponents on TV is Monti. The outgoing Prime Minister has appealed to both Bersani and Berlusconi, but his call fell on deaf ears. The latest available polls put his party "Scelta Civica" in fourth place behind PD and also Beppe Grillo's Movimento 5 Stelle. The Professor knows that before the election votes tend to gravitate towards the main political forces. That's why he tried to increase his visibility, but with no success.
The person who has nothing to gain by going on tv is Bersani: if you are already out in front it is better not to risk confrontation live on tv "without a safety net". In the past, the left underestimated the power that television can have on elections. In '94 the left was caught off guard by the Berlusconi phenomenon, and later, when it was in power, it did not address the issue of conflict of interest, an Italian anomaly. Bersani clearly doesn't want to trip up: he will only accept a tv appearance alongside all six candidates. A condition unacceptable to Berlusconi and Monti. Grillo, is another thing altogether. His campaign was always focused on public speaking rather than TV appearances. He cancelled the only television interview that he had scheduled in a move to differentiate himself from everyone else.
(Traduzione di James Tierney)

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