Monday, November 03, 2008

Italy Watches U.S. Voting

This has nothing to do with Venice, but I thought it was interesting--thanks to for the story. I took the photo in May 2003.

» 2008-11-03 19:01
Italy gears up for US vote
Italians treat election almost as their own

(ANSA) - Rome, November 3 - Italy is gearing up for Tuesday's presidential elections in the United States almost as if it was a national election here complete with all-night TV coverage and rallies for the candidates.

Results will be broadcast live on the state RAI networks, the private Mediaset channels owned by Premier Silvio Berlusconi, the independent La7 and channels on the Sky satellite platform, which hosts several American networks as Britain's BBC and the Arabic al Jazeera network, which also has a channel in English.

Because of the six-hour time difference, no results of the race between Democrat Barack Omaba and Republican John McCain are not expected in Italy until after midnight (23:00GMT).

However, Italian viewers can watch a full array of related programming including talks shows with Italian pundits and American guests, news specials and films with a US election theme.

These include Michael Moore documentary on George W. Bush's presidency Fahrenheit 9/11 and the made-for-TV film Recount on Bush's victory in 2000 with the contested vote count in Florida, which stars two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacy and which won an Emmy award.

Another film scheduled for Tuesday night is Death of a President which was produced by Britain's Channel Four and is a fantasy-documentary about the assassination of President Bush which sparked a lot of controversy but which won an American Emmy award as well as the critics' prize at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007.

Italians waiting for the election results can also watch Hollywood superstar Robert Redford as a candidate for the US Senate with presidential ambitions in Michael Ritchie's 1972 film The Candidate.

Americans in Rome of both parties will be gathering at the luxurious Parco dei Principi Hotel near Via Veneto to watch the elections results.

The Democrats Abroad organization, convinced of an Omaba victory, have also organized a rally at a restaurant at the Termini railroad station and are reported to have asked city authorities for permission to stage a victory parade on Saturday from the American embassy on via Veneto to the Colosseum.

The Democrats have been the most active in campaigning for Obama who won the primary elections in Italy by a landslide.

Among Italian politicians the African-American senator from Illinois has the full support of the center left. And he has even won over several members of the center right government, leading other conservatives to accuse them of "jumping on the bandwagon" of the front-runner in the US vote.

The Italian government and the American embassy have both stated at length that relations between the two countries will remain "excellent" no matter who wins Tuesday's vote.

In a talk show in Sunday, Italian Foreign minister Franco Frattini said that "there will be no surprises" for Italy from the American elections.

The US, he observed, ''is and will remain our primary international ally''.

US Ambassador Ronald Spogli will host an election night event at the Excelsior Hotel for some 2,000 invited guests including American and Italian businessmen and politicians from the center right and left.

Italy's center-left Partito Democratico (PD) is organising its own election night rally with the participation of party secretary Walter Veltoni, the former Rome mayor who wrote the introduction to the Italian edition to one of Obama's books.

The event will be broadcast live by the PD's satellite channel YouDem as well as on its website.

Election night events are also being organised at the leading American military bases in Italy and at the campuses of many US universities which have branches here.

In Naples, the American consulate is organising an open air event while pizza makers, certain of his victory, have already come up with an Obama pizza to be served up Tuesday night.
So, if you live in the US, be sure to vote. If you live in Naples, try an Obama pizza and let us know what you think about it.

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