The Italian from Hong Kong who, if elected, could change the image of Italians abroad
Angelo Paratico, running for the Senate in the centre-right coalition formed by the parties known as Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d'Italia
For thefourth time - the first was in 2006 - Italian citizens living in Africa, Asia,Australia and Oceania are voting to elect two members of the Italian Parliament,one in the House of Deputies and one in the Senate.
Voting isnot compulsory and statistical data show that a relatively small minority ofthose entitled to vote (who must be of at least 18 years of age and are listedin the civic registry of Italian Consulates in their areas of residence) returntheir postal ballot papers.
The winnersof the previous polls were all candidates of the Partito Democratico (Democratic Party) and possibly this trend willbe confirmed but a different outcome, this time, cannot be altogether excluded.The only certainty is that the result will be determined by constituency inAustralia which comprises by far thelargest number of voters.
Amongst thecandidates, one stands out as a remarkably cultivated and educated man. His name is Angelo Paratico and he is running for the Senate in the"“Salvini-Berlusconi-Meloni" ticket, that is the centre-right coalition formedby the parties known as Forza Italia, Lega and Fratelli d'Italia. He has been living in Hong Kong with his wifeDonatella and their two children since 1983, and has earned his living as arepresentative of a major Italian textile brand. At the same time he hasdevoted himself to classical and humanistic studies becoming the author of afew historical novels as well as non-fiction books about intriguing topics. Onein particular has been attracting a lot of interest worldwide as it deals with abizarre conjecture concerning Leonardo da Vinci's mysterious mother.
According to Angelo Paratico's book - titled the "Leonardo Da Vinci. A ChineseScholar Lost in Renaissance Italy" - the Florentinegenius was most likely conceived out of a casual sexual encounter between his father and a domesticChinese slave. The book was published in 2014 and the newsof this thesis went viral aroundthe world causing a storm on the media, with all the major newspaperspublishing articles and his author being interviewed by BBC, CNN, Russian,Italian and Spanish television.The role of the few parliamentarians elected outside Italy has proven tobe totally immaterial to any tangible purpose. They represent just a tokenrecognition of the sizeable number of Italian citizens living abroad and assuch they should at least be individuals with some distinct merits orachievements. Nonetheless those elected so far do not seem to have fallen underthis category. They were simply people who were able to get large number ofvotes through their social connections and politicking skills and once electedthey vanished into the privileges and comforts of anonymous Italian parliamentarylife.
On account of his scholarly achievements, Angelo Paratico would be adeserving member of the Italian Senate. He would change the image of Italiansabroad projecting the idea that we are not just hard-working people with littleif any cultural and intellectual refinement. For the first time one of us wouldembody in the Italian Parliament the true spirit that links us to out countryof origin: its immense contribution to the western civilization and its crucial role in ensuring that it willsurvive the massification of culture being brought about by an increasinglyglobalized economy.
Angelo Paratico has recently visited Australia and he was able to meetquite a few Italian compatriots around this country. The climax of his visitwas a convivial party hosted by his long-standing friend and chairman of FilaSportwears Australia, Silvano Merlatti, in his Caulfield residence.
An art connoisseur and well-read expatriate himself, Silvano Merlatti,was happy to gather around Angelo Paratico a good number of Melburnians ofItalian background who had the opportunity of enjoying his company and admiringhis considerable knowledge of humanities.