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Stefano Caldoro: Fighting prejudice coming from the North

Garbage crisis compounded by Northern prejudice

Anthony M. Quattrone

Stefano Caldoro, the governor of the Campania Region, is trying to head off a new garbage crisis in his region.  He is not getting much support from political allies in Northern Italy.  Caldoro heads a center-right coalition that was elected last March, following almost ten years of rule by former Communist Antonio Bassolino, whose regional government has been faulted for mismanaging the waste disposal system that brought images of Naples submerged with garbage on the front pages of newspapers world wide in 2008.

The governors of Piedmont, Roberto Cota, and Veneto, Luca Zaia, who are members of the Northern League party, belonging to Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition which heads the national government in Rome, have gone public in denying Caldoro any assistance finding a location to process thousands of tons of waste produced by Campania.

Zaia stated on 12 October 2010 that “on the waste management front, Campania needs to take care of itself , and it is a scandal that the army has had to intervene. I defend the people of Venetia and everyone must keep their garbage in their own home.”  Zaia stated that he was by Caldoro’s side, and that he “has my solidarity, because it is shameful to see urban guerilla scenes.  He is a friend and we are helping him also on the public health front, sending him top consultants from Veneto”.

Caldoro replied to Zaia’s “friendly fire” statement reiterating that the Northern League is “high and mighty”, behaving as an arrogant professor.  Caldoro’s position appears to be in line with the feeling which is beginning to gain ground in Naples against preposterous arguments put forward by northern Italian politicians against the South.

Caldoro has taken a firm stand affirming that he will counter all gratuitous criticism arriving from the North.  “I will reply” Caldoro stated, “at every arrogant attempt and attack against the South.  If this arrogance will continue to arrive from the Northern League, then we will reply, tit for tat.  We will fight and, in the end, logic will prevail.  There are too many prejudices up North and too many acquired positions that they wish to defend, but we will win the challenge.”

The emerging conflict between Caldoro, Cota, and Zaia is a new element of concern for Silvio Berlusconi’s conflict-ridden center-right coalition.  During the past three months, Berlusconi has had to deal with a schism in his Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom) party which has led to the ouster of the party’s cofounder, Gianfranco Fini, and over thirty members of Parliament.  Fini is the current president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

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Stefano Caldoro’s center right coalition wins in Campania

Stefano Caldoro with Premier Silvio Berlusconi on 18 March 2010 during the campaign for governor of the Campania Region (photo from Caldoro's campaign site at http://www.caldoropresidente.it/foto/)

Stefano Caldoro, the candidate for the center-right coalition for governor of the Campania Region, has won the elections held on 28 and 29 March 2010, and the parties in his coalition have also conquered the majority of seats in the Regional Council. Caldoro took 54.25% of the vote, against Vicenzo de Luca, the candidate for the center-left coalition, who earned 43.04%, Paolo Ferrero, with 1.35%, who ran for the “federation of the left”, and Roberto Fico with 1.34%, representing another leftist formation, the “five stars movement”. Caldoro will be replacing Antonio Bassolino, the outgoing center-left governor, who held the post for the past ten years.

Only 62.96% of the approximately 5 million eligible voters cast their ballots during the elections in Campania.

The results in Campania follow the general trend in the elections held in ten other Italian regions. The results allow Premier Silvio Berlusconi to claim victory for his center-right government because his coalition has increased the regional governments that it administers from two to six, leaving four to the center left. The center-right won in Campania, Lazio, Piedmont, and Calabria, and it held on to Lombardy and Veneto. The center-left was able to hold on only to five regions: Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria, and Basilicata.

In Campania, Stefano Caldoro’s victory was cheered by those who are seeking a total break with the style of the outgoing governor, Antonio Bassolino, whose administration was marred by the accusation of cronyism, favoritism, and overall inefficiency. During the Bassolino years, the region has been at the center of international attention due to the garbage crisis. Stefano Caldoro is particularly concerned that Bassolino is continuing to make political appointments to regionally managed firms while he is on his way out, without coordinating such appointments with the incoming government. Continue reading

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