MARCH 22, 2006
Why Italy needs a new government
The Italian nation is currently in the middle of an election campaign with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition known as the Casa delle Liberta against the centre-left L'Unione, headed by former prime minister and ex-president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi. The Prime Minister is not elected directly but is usually the leader of the party that holds a majority in parliament. The election takes place on April 9-10 after which the government will start to function again. This will give Italy the chance to save its Grand Prix which is currently being threatened by a legal action taken by two families who live just outside the walls of the Parco di Monza, the vast parkland area which surrounds the track. The houses, in the village of Biassono, were built after the autodrome was constructed but a magistrate in Milan, Marco Manunta, ruled in November that noise restrictions be placed on the circuit because motor racing is "socially-useless activity that has a major impact on the environment". The circuit cannot hold a Grand Prix if the ruling is upheld. The circuit is owned by the city of Monza and the city of Milan and the authorities are confident that the problem will go away because of the huge value the event brings to the region. Riccardo De Corato, the deputy-mayor of Milan, said that "it is right to protect the environment but it is also right that we should avoid excesses that might wipe out important traditions."
Unfortunately an appeal against the decision has been rejected in recent days and so it will probably take intervention from the government to get the race out of trouble. The last time the Italian Grand Prix was threatened in 1994 Berlusconi intervened to get the problems sorted out.
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