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Once upon a time there was politics. The last Christian Democrat speaks by Pierferdinando Casini

Pier Ferdinando Casini is an Italian politician, President of the Chamber of Deputies from 2001 to 2006.
Formed politically in the Christian Democrats, he initially joined the current of dorotei and later became one of the closest collaborators of Arnaldo Forlani; after the dissolution of the DC, in 1994 he was among the founders of the Christian Democratic Center, the minority group that sided with the center-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi.

Appointed President of the Chamber for the XIV legislature (2001-2006), during the mandate he merged into the Union of Centre together with the other members of his party. He definitively broke the alliance with Berlusconi before the 2008 general elections, returning at different times to promote the aggregation of various centrist formations and subsequently also approaching the center-left; in 2017 he founded the Centrists for Europe movement.

Having been elected for the first time to Parliament in 1983 and having been confirmed in the following ten legislatures, Casini has held the office of deputy or senator for over 39 consecutive years, making him the longest-running Italian parliamentarian by 2022.
In August 2022, the leadership of the Democratic Party announced Casini’s re-candidacy for the Senate of the Republic, that is, the eleventh race in the elections for the dean of the Italian Parliament.

“There are moments when everything comes back: the thousand pieces of the puzzle fall into place and the vision opens clearly before us. Like the serene that comes after a storm. On January 29, 2022, entering the hall of Montecitorio to vote for Sergio Mattarella’s encore and then attend his proclamation, I received a warm and unexpected applause.

That warm welcome was like the missing piece of a puzzle that completes the picture, gives the final image, the satisfaction of having fulfilled one’s duty to the end». Pier Ferdinando Casini is the historical memory of these last forty years of Italian politics. He went through the First and Second Republics: from his exciting debut in Parliament, to the relationship with the most important personalities of the Christian Democrats, passing through Tangentopoli, the center-right governments and the presidency of the Chamber, today he is the oldest senator of the Republic. His is a powerful text that knows how to reconstruct with a wise and acute gaze the salient moments of an existence at the service of public affairs. And then there is his Bologna where it all begins, his family of origin, his children, the teachers of the DC and the Catholic world, the relationship with the presidents of the Council who have succeeded His passion for foreign policy: a wealth of experience that is also a precise indication for the new generations of politicians. Among anecdotes, memories, reflections and hopes, Italian history passes through the thread of memory of one of its most authoritative protagonists who, for the first time, has decided to tell himself and tell in his latest work “Once upon a time there was politics-speaks the last Christian Democrat” (Piemme).
The Senator describes with acute and careful examination our current politics, going back to the origins of the most important transformations and political metamorphoses and participation of the last twenty years.
The central theme of the text is the new forms of democratic representation.
The reflections arose from the sociological analyses following the end of the First and Second Republics.

A new model of representative democracy has come to the fore and it is difficult to understand and even to describe its causes, writes Casini. One of the reasons can be identified in the abstention in the vote that in Italy has had increasingly increasing levels. The climate of distrust in institutions and politics has generated disappointment and skepticism with a manifest detachment from the ballot box, the consequence of which is that citizens, no longer exercising their right as voters, have turned from protagonists into spectators. Here then is the birth of a hybrid democracy, which is different from the democracy of the parties we remember in the First Republic and even more different from the democracy of the public of the Second Republic.

How did this come about? A first analysis that is reported and described in the essay is the metamorphosis of the parties. Participation in active politics and organization on the territory has been replaced and replaced by television communication and ideology today is represented by the figure of the leader who, well conscious, cultivates his image, his language and his personal party.

A sick democracy that has buried the political ideal for marketing strategies, whose healing is desirable in order to rebuild a secure and certain future.” Where distrust appears to be a democratic virtue (to paraphrase Montesquieu) every man who has power is induced to abuse it.”

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