It was a busy martedi grasso in Italy yesterday, although traditional carnival celebrations were very much in second, or even third, place with political events at home and abroad very much to the fore.
President of the main opposition party Partito Democratico Rosy Bindi (pictured) managed to fulfil her promise of presenting a 10 million signature petition calling for PM Berlusconi’s resignation in Rome yesterday.
Signatures had been collected over the past few months both in the piazze throughout Italy and on-line. Bindi helped carry the boxes of signatures into the building although was unable to meet Berlusconi personally as he is currently recovering from a jaw operation on Monday. She was however met by top aide Gianni Letta and as well as presenting the hefty petition, she also gave her best wishes for a speedy recovery to the PM.
The signatures were appropriately presented on 8th March, otto marzo, International Women’s Day, fervently celebrated in Italy and commonly represented by the yellow mimosa flowers which are duly on sale around this time. “We decided to deliver these signatures on 8th March because we started gathering them when ‘Rubygate’ broke out” said Bindi, referring to the latest sex scandal in which Berlusconi is accused of illegal sex with the then minor known as “Ruby” and abuse of power in freeing her from police custody. Berlusconi, in theory, stands trial on April 6th.
Ms. Bindi was also famously insulted by Berlusconi on live TV in 2009, who said she was “more beautiful than intelligent” to which she promptly retorted “I am not one of those women at your disposal, Prime Minister”.
On his return from hospital, Berlusconi now faces the prickly question over relations with Col. Ghedaffi, rising fuel prices and increasing threat of mass refugees arriving to Italian shores from North Africa. Calls for help from the EU by Minister Roberto Maroni have up to now been largely unanswered.