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Berlusconi of the left?

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Combining in the same eclectic persona the identities of (post-)communist, gay and Christian, Nichi Vendola has been one of the very few success stories in the Italian left in recent years. Even though he originates from the radical left of Rifondazione Comunista, he has managed to gain support far beyond the familiar terrain of the progressive electorate. Key in Vendola's surprising political rise has been the adoption of innovative political communications, ranging from subversive electoral posters to dedicated facebook and youtube pages, as well as memorable TV appearances. Unlike from the other leaders of the left, Vendola has managed to develop a strong emotional connection with voters who are highly suspicious of parties and as cynical as ever towards notoriously corrupt political institutions. As things stand Vendola does not yet seem capable of offering solace to the desperate soul-searching of the Italian Left. But he does offer an effective tactical solution to counter Silvio Berlusconi's dominance in the realm of mediatised politics. This is no small achievement.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 15, 2011

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