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Italy's Left on the Iraqi issue


As I recently wrote, something new is happening in the Italian Left. To make it intelligible to non-Italian readers what is new in the mood of the centre-left coalition, today the International Herald Tribune quoted what Romano Prodi—the former prime minister and president of the European Commission who is the centre-left’s candidate against Berlusconi in next year’s general election—said on the Iraqi issue in an interview with Newsweek published last week:
 
“If I win, then we shall decide an agenda for withdrawing the troops […] certainly I shall not make any coup de theatre as was done by the Spanish.”
 
So—as Ian Fisher noted in the article—the quick withdrawal of Spanish troops last year, after Mr Zapatero was elected prime minister, is no longer a model for the Left. Is it the beginning of a little epochal shift? Being an optimist, I say yes. But one may give a different explanation for why the mood has changed:
 
For the first time, there has been talk in recent days of Berlusconi’s center-right government and the center-left opposition forging a pact on how and when to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq, possibly near the end of 2006. That date is in line with an informal timetable given in recent days both by Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, who visited Italy last week.
 
”What we are seeing here from both sides is a more moderate position,” said Franco Pavoncello, a political science professor at John Cabot University in Rome. ”Because the moderate position is where the majority of the electorate is, and neither of them wants to be seen on the margins here.”
 
Nearly three years after the war began, the majority of Italians seem at about the same place on the Iraq dilemma as most Americans and British people: Not happy about the decision to go to war, but worried that pulling out overnight would not contribute to stability.
 
Categorie:somewhere in italy
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