Although I have lived in Italy for a number of years, and I have paid taxes during that time, I am not an Italian citizen and therefore not eligible to vote.
This weekend (well Sunday and Monday) there will be a referendum on some matters that I would LOVE to have the right to vote on, namely:
1. Nuclear energy
Italy phased out nuclear energy after a referendum in 1987 following the Chernobyl disaster. Despite this, the Prime Minister has recently been trying to phase nuclear power back in. He has also been trying to avoid a referendum on nuclear energy. Thanks to an Italian court, he has not been able to get away with this.
I really hope that Italian citizens vote overwhelmingly for a non-nuclear future. Not least because Italy, like Japan, is an earthquake-prone country.
2. Legitimate impediment
The referendum also gives Italian voters the chance to vote on whether the PM and his Ministers should be allowed to avoid appearing in court, on the grounds that they have more important things to do (like breaking the law).
The current Italian Prime Minister (and many of his Ministers) have been abusing their above-the-law privileges for far too long. I just hope Italian voters see it this way too.
3. Privatisation of water services
I would also vote NO to privatisation of water utilities. There are many problems with the Italian water services, ranging from inadequate supply in poorer regions, to theft and a need to upgrade sewage and water treatment systems. (There is also the problem of undrinkable tap-water in certain more prosperous regions.) The system needs a massive injection of capital. It is unlikely that privatisation would solve any of these problems.
The fact that the government is backing privatisation plans, is a good indication that a change of ownership of water services is not in the interests of Italian citizens.
The Prime Minister has declared that he will not be voting (because the referendum is a left-wing conspiracy by the judiciary against him, etc, etc) but I hope everyone else does… and that they vote for what is fair and sensible.
I only wish I could join them.
* Photos from Corriere della Sera.