Quietly influential Venice-resident elected mayor
Giorgio Orsoni elected 27-28 March 2010
Northern Italy may have swung hard Right in the regional and comunal elections of 27-28 March 2010, but the city of Venice stayed Left. Its electorate (70% on the mainland, 10% on the islands and only 20% in Venice proper) chose the lawyer Giorgio Orsoni, 63, to succede the philosopher mayor, Massimo Cacciari.
Voters rejected the hyper-active Right-wing candidate, Renato Brunetta, not just because Venice is traditionally a Left-wing city, but because Brunetta declared he would hold on to his ministerial post in Rome and so would only have been a part time mayor.
By contrast, Giorgio Orsoni is deeply rooted in Venice. He lives on the Grand Canal, is Primo Procuratore of the basilica of St Mark's, vice-president of the Fondazione Cini, a trustee of the Fenice theatre and, last but not least, president of the Compagnia della Vela, the Venice sailing club. In fact, the Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted him as saying,
"This city cannot be understood if you don't know its history and you don't look at it from the water."
Orsoni's plans are to "reinforce the role of Venice as the metropolis of the north-east: a city of the future with man as its measure, which encourages work and enterprise, helps familes and improves the environment. [We need] a town plan to demolish ugly structures on the mainland and then rebuild. Finally, [we want] to have high quality tourism." He intends to keep the role of cultural counsellor for himself in his future giunta.
To the Repubblica, he said, "Venice is a world city, a beacon of civilisation that needs calm leadership."