Usually I could care less about politics here in Italy. You’d need a freaking Ph.D. and then some to even touch the tip of the iceberg in trying to understand it all, anyways. So, for me usually the phrase “ignorance is bliss” is my M.O. However sometimes even my minimal knowledge of Roman politics is enough to make me nearly laugh to the point of having milk come out my nose when I see an ad like this all over the city:
“Rome Deserves Dignity”
Wow, really? This dude, Storace, has scandal all over himself, and he wants to come out preaching dignity? I think there must be a statue of limitations when it comes to dirty politicians. Maybe every 6 years they figure they’ve been laundered like mafia money in a fancy yet totally tacky restaurant with no customers. Because that’s what Storace seems to think.
Lest we forget he came under investigation in 2006 for “associazione a delinquere” which is a fun term that basically means conspiracy in committing a crime. He called it a “lynching.” It had to do with fabricating signatures in order to defeat a political opponent (Mussolini’s granddaughter, no less) and misuse of public databases for this purpose. He is the ex-Minster of Health and the ex-President of the Region of Lazio. He has a long political history in Rome.
Given the slow process time of Italian “justice,” in 2010 Storace was actually convicted. He was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months behind bars. The mayor of Rome, Alemanno, also a member of the political right like Storace, said he hoped the sentence would be reversed on appeal. Storace, upon hearing the sentence, sarcastically said “complimenti” to the Italian justice system and declared that he was ready to go to prison without any special treatment and that he was willing to resign from his political position as a “consigliere” for the Region of Lazio. No one actually goes to prison until appeal, apparently, at which point the sentence would either be confirmed or rejected. And he never resigned from his post, which he still holds.
Fast forward then to last month (yes, last month, June 11), when news was released that Rome’s attorney general has asked for the sentence to be completely reversed as in “assoluzione con formula piena” which would relieve him of any prison time. This request isn’t based on the fact that Storace wasn’t involved in tampering with falsifications or accessing the regional database for his own purposes. It is based on the assertion that there was a regulation that authorized access to the database by one of the other men convicted, Maceri (the one who accessed the database).
In this commentary shortly after the prosecutor’s request, Storace says he’s seriously considering campaigning to be Rome’s next mayor.
Rome deserves dignity? How about an entire Wikipedia page available on the scandal, titled “Laziogate”?
Wait! Wait! This just in! I forgot to mention that between the conviction and the request for absolution in appeal, Storace won a civil suit in which he received €20,000 in damages, which explains the title of the article: Laziogate, Storace goes from defendant to victim.
If at this point you aren’t confused, I certainly am, which is why I give up and go back to being blissfully ignorant. But not ignorant enough to know that, guilty or not, once you’ve come under investigation you can’t certainly go on using “dignity” as your tagline unless you live in a some kind of parallel universe. Which is exactly where I think most Italian politicians live.
And now, you can see why it’s nearly useless to try to untangle the knotted and thorny web of Roman politics. What’s the point, really? The justice system is notoriously slow and corrupt. Appeals go on for years and legal loopholes are many.
So we make a full circle and come back to the beginning, Rome deserving dignity. I totally agree. I just don’t see how it’s possible given the political climate and culture though. So blatantly ridiculous it’s sadly comical. And people wonder why nothing works around here? It’s no surprise. Somehow things keep moving, and yet somehow they never go anywhere. That’s pretty much Rome in a microcosm.