Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's First Communist President

Heh. Silvio Berlusconi is crapping in his pantalone!

Portrait [portions translated from Wiki ITALY]

Giorgio Napolitano was born in Naples on June 29, 1925 and was elected Italy’s eleventh President on May 10, 2006. In the past, he served as Speaker of the Assembly in the XI Congress, replacing Oscar Luigi Scalafaro, who had been voted President, and Interior Minister in the Prodi government.

In 1942, at the age of 17, Napolitano founded an antifascist, communist group, which participated in several Resistance actions against the Nazis. In 1945, he joined the Italian Communist Party, becoming local Secretary for Naples and Caserta. Two years later, he earned a law degree from the University of Naples with a thesis in economic policy. Before devoting his life to politics, Napolitano briefly contemplated acting as a profession and notably played the leading role in William Butler Yeats' Journey to Cardiff.

Elected to the National Assembly 1953 from the Naples district (Napolitano has been regularly returned to office for over 50 years), he became head of the Southern Commission of the Italian Communist Party Central Committee, to which he was admitted during the VIII Congress in 1956. In that year, between October and November, he supported the Soviet repression of the Hungarian workers' uprising, which the Italian Communist Party (PCI) had condemned as counterrevolutionary. In his autobiography of his public life, From the PCI to European Socialism, he writes of his terrible soul-searching in coming to this decision, which he attributes to his conception of the role of the Communist Party as “inseparable from the destiny of the Socialist camp led by the Soviet Union" which stood in opposition to Capitalism.

Promoted to the PCI’s national leadership team during the 10th Party Congress, Napolitano was responsible for economic policy from 1976 to 1979. From 1986 to 1989, he was Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and International Relations.

An adherent of the reforming and social-democratic faction within the party (as leader of the so-called Proponents of Betterment), he became Foreign Minister in the PCI's shadow cabinet, then resigned the position at the Rimini Congress to form the DS (Democratic Leftists).

Serving several times as PCI party whip, he was elected to the European Parliament in 1992 and as Speaker of the House, replacing Oscar Luigi Scalfaro. During his years as shadow Foreign Minister, he implemented a policy of “full and loyal” support of the United States and NATO.

On September 23, 2005, he was named Senator for Life, by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.