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Honesty Italian Style

Honesty Italian Style

Dom Serafini (November 28, 2012)

For the Italian caste an honest politician is someone who received only a two-year sentence.


 By Dom Serafini. Italy never ceases to amuse the world. That’s why Hollywood is able to monetize its culture and lifestyle, to the chagrin of Italian-Americans. The latest amusement and amazement comes from a recent Italian governmental decree that establishes the threshold of honesty for parliamentarians and public servants, at a two-year jail sentence.

Any politician who received less than a 24-month conviction is considered an honest Abe.
      The decree is actually a Legislative Decree, an urgent and specific request by the Parliament to the government to pass a “Clean Ticket” (“Liste pulite”) law by decree. A government decree is an urgent measure that goes into effect immediately, but must to be approved by the Parliament within 60 days in order to become permanent.
        In the case of the “Clean Ticket” law, the Parliament first established what the honesty level of candidates for upcoming elections should be, then gave it to the government in order to make it into a provisional law and, finally, it will vote to make the law permanent.
       The urgency on the part of Parliamentarians stems from the approaching election (April 2013), and on the part of the government because it at least establishes some thresholds, where before there were none. Italian politicians are now afraid that, without the facade of some form of self-imposed honesty requirements, people will vote en masse for the increasingly popular Five Stars ticket, which calls for current politicians to be voted out of office and for all candidates to have no criminal record whatsoever, including indictments.
         Under the “Clean Ticket” law, political candidates, civil servants and others who have received jail sentences of more than two years will not be eligible to serve in Parliament or to hold any public office. Currently, the Italian Parliament seats 100 members that have either been convicted or are under indictment, or under investigation or accused of wrongdoing or are scot-free due to the statute of limitations.
         The new law will at least force these privileged individuals –– defined by Italians as the “caste” –– to limit their illegal activities on just those operations that will not result in more than a two-year sentence.
          In other parts of the world, politicians resign for having copied parts of a thesis, or for being under investigation, or for extra-marital affairs. In Italy, those charges are considered frivolous. Serious offenses for Italian politicians are Mafia and terrorism-related, corruption and, in exceptional cases, “crimes of a financial nature.” However, all those charges rarely result in sentence of more than a two-years. Indeed, to say that for the Italian caste honesty is a relative term, is a euphemism.



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