Postcard from... Milan

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Francesco De Salazare looks set to belie Italian politicians’ reputation for sloth as he rolls up his sleeves in preparation for his new job as councillor for the Parioli-Nomentano district of Rome … and as the councillor for the Monteverde-Portuense district of Rome.

But the harder he works, the more he will remind people of his leading role in what is an exceptional cock-up even by the standards of Italian politics – being elected twice at the same time by accident. Some pundits said it went beyond what you’d read in a farce by Luigi Pirandello.

So how did he manage to win two local elections – for different centre-right parties – at the same time? Councillor Salazare denied the unlikely double-election victory stemmed from a cynical ploy to be elected in at least one of the polls, or even worse, to double his salary.

“It was just carelessness,” he said. “First I had contact with the people doing the list for mayoral candidate Alfio Marchini, but then the other district asked me to put myself forward with the Brothers of Italy [the party of incumbent mayor Gianni Alemanno, pictured], and I only campaigned with them. I discovered the double candidature when it was too late.”

The newspapers sarcastically asked which of Rome’s two main football teams, Roma and Lazio, he’d be supporting.

But the stately  Corriere della Sera newspaper remarked: “It’s an example of how politics works and not only in Rome: obscure rules that allow cock-ups, inadequate controls, a conned electorate, and candidates who care only about the votes they win.”