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Italy

Yearbook 2001

2001 ItalyItaly. During the spring, the right alliance, led by media magnate Silvio Berlusconi and his party Forza Italia, emerged increasingly as favorites ahead of the general election to be held on May 13. The alliance with Umberto Bossi's separatist and xenophobic Lega Nord led the Right to a clear advantage in northern Italy, prompting the ruling center-left coalition with Francesco Rutelli at the forefront to concentrate its campaign to the south. During the election campaign, Berlusconi received criticism for his political interest conflicting with his business empire, which includes the country's three largest TV companies.

2001 Italy

According to Countryaah, the right alliance convincingly won the general election. In the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, they won a majority of seats, 368 out of 630, and in the upper house, Senate, 177 out of 315 seats. Berlusconis Forza Italia won almost 30% of the vote. However, Lega Nord succeeded poorer and gained only 3.9%, down from 10.1% at the last election in 1996. The Left Democrats became the second largest party with 16.6%. One consolation for the left, however, was that the mayor posts were maintained in the important cities of Rome, Naples and Turin. Government formation was completed in mid-June. Several controversial appointments by members of Lega Nord were made, including the government's responsibility for illegal immigration and welfare policy and the Justice Minister's post.

The G-8 group's annual meeting in Genoa in mid-July attracted much attention. While leaders of the world's richest countries were behind a rigorous security raid in Genoa's barred city center, the so-called Red Zone, extensive demonstrations were held outside. Tens of thousands of people took part in the protests against, among other things, free trade and globalization, and a small hard-line group used violent methods. During the riots, a demonstrator was shot dead by police, over 300 people were injured, including 70 police. 280 people were arrested and material damage to a high value was incurred. However, the G-8 group's final document stated that the meeting had been a success, despite the demonstrations, the shooting and the material damage. The blame for the shooting was laid on the radical and violent groups among the protesters.

On October 8, a SAS plane collided with a small German private Cessna plan at Milan's Linate airport. All 114 people aboard the two planes were killed, as were four airport employees. The plane crash was the worst in both SAS's and Italy's history.

A bomb detonated in April at the Institute of International Relations in Rome. In the same building was an association that worked to improve US-Italy relations. A left-wing group called NIPR took on the deed that caused material damage but no personal injury. Another bomb exploded in August in a Venice courthouse that Berlusconi would have visited just hours later. Two people were injured in the explosion. Several groups took on the blame, including a group that emerged from the extremist left group Red Brigades. A third bomb detonated later that month at the Lega North premises in Padua, northern Italy. No one took the blame for the act.

The Etna volcano in Sicily erupted in mid-July. The 6,000 residents of the city of Nicolosi on the southern slopes of Etna were threatened by the lava flows. The resort of La Sapienza was destroyed, but no people were injured. After a week, disaster states were declared and the army was deployed to stop the lava flow.

On January 28, Italy's last queen, Maria Josť, passed away at the age of 94. She spent her last days in exile in Switzerland. She was the daughter of Belgian King Albert and married in 1930 to the Italian heiress Umberto II who became king in 1946 since his father abdicated. Maria Josť left Italy less than a month later with her husband. The reason was a rapidly growing dissatisfaction with the court giving its support to the fascists during the Second World War.

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