The slate of candidates for the next prime minister of Italy is so bleak that 'Last Week Tonight' host John Oliver has decided to throw his hat into the ring. Oliver announced his (tongue-in-cheek) candidacy on yesterday's show after surveying the political landscape, where the frontrunners are
- 1. a former prime minister who resigned after leading a disastrous referendum;
- 2. an anti-establishment party founded by a comedian known for organizing demonstrations called 'Fuck Off Day,' and led by a candidate who has taken a hardline stance against immigration and has flirted with repealing mandatory vaccinations in a country where there were nearly 5,000 cases of measles in 2017 alone.
- 3. a far-right party who made headlines earlier this month when a candidate opened fire on African migrants, then gave a fascist salute to a war monument afterward.
Given those options, there is a strong possibility that the country revert to the dark days of Benito Mussolini.
"Italy is in turmoil and is dabbling with fascism," Oliver noted. "And sadly, the conditions are ripe for fascism to flourish there. Italy is Europe's third-largest economy, yet its public debt is 130 percent of GDP...that's second only to Greece and the bank of Greece is currently just a goat dancing around an open fire. Meanwhile, unemployment is high and politicians have been stoking anti-immigrant sentiments."
So the election could prove disastrous if one of the extreme parties wins or if it ends with a deadlock, plunging the volatile country into even more political turmoil. But that deadlock could also open the door to Prime Minister Oliver.
"Under Italian law, the governing coalition...could still pick a non-politician who's had nothing to do with this campaign so far. So it could be some random jackass that Italy has never heard of. And if you don't see where I'm going with this, you've clearly never seen this fucking show before. Because we asked half a dozen Italian legal experts, and while they told me that I couldn't run for prime minister of Italy, they also admitted there is no explicit provision in the Italian constitution that says non-citizens can't run for prime minister. So as far as I'm concerned, we have ourselves an 'Air Bud' scenario. Remember: the rules of basketball did not explicit state that [a dog] couldn't play, next thing you know, that dog's dunking. Well, I am that dog, Italy. So alley-oop, motherfuckers."
Check out Oliver's pitch to Italian voters in the clip above.