Francesco Carcaterra in 2018
|President of the United Etrurian Federation|
|Assumed office |
11 August 2016
|Preceded by||Emiliano Reali|
|Federal Leader of the Tribune Movement|
|Assumed office |
30 August 2012
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Leader of National Action|
4 April 2009 – 30 August 2012
|Preceded by||Umberto Fafani|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
for San Pietro della Abbadia Lariana
|Assumed office |
3 May 2013
|Preceded by||Margareta Gennaro|
Francesco Aurelio Carcaterra
6 June 1964
|Political party||National Action (2006-2012)|
Tribune Movement (2012-present)
|Spouse(s)||Augustina Carcaterra (1989-Present)|
|Alma mater||University of San Michele|
Carcaterra spent the majority of his career as a history professor and was also a leading figure in the Academic Association for Etrurian History, a notable right-wing society comprised of academics. He would enter politics in the mid-2000s following his controversial sacking from the prestigious University of San Michele, over his published best-seller book, A Solarian Etruria. In 2009, he was elected the leader of the national conservative National Action, where he then successfully established an electoral bloc with two other hard-right parties.
In 2012, the Coalition of the Right united to form the Tribune Movement, with Carcaterra elected Federal Leader of the party. In 2013, the Tribune Movement became the fourth largest party in that year’s general election and Carcaterra was elected to the Chamber of Representatives. In 2016, Carcaterra and the Tribune Movement would lead the No-campaign in the year’s EC membership referendum. Utilising the widespread corruption in Etrurian government to tar the EC, coupled with energetic championing of national sovereignty, economic independence and anti-immigrant sentiment, the No-vote won by a landslide, ending thirty-years of pro-EC policy and efforts toward obtaining membership of the bloc for Etruria. The defeat of the Yes-campaign as well as the Miraviglia Scandal brought about the collapse of the centre-right coalition government and in August 2016, the Tribune Movement won a landslide victory and entered into coalition with the Farmers and Workers Union, Francesco Carcaterra became President of Etruria on 11 August 2016.
Since becoming President, Carcaterra’s government initially focused on instituting a wide-range reform programme aimed at supporting lower- and middle-income workers. This included a series of worker’s rights amendments, an increase to the federal minimum wage and passing delayed health insurance reforms. Between 2016 and 2018, the Carcaterra government abolished, or shuttered numerous government bodies and agencies dedicated to Etruria meeting EC standards for membership, several of which focused on civil liberties, press freedoms and anti-racial discrimination. Utilising popular referendums to by-pass the two-thirds majority requirement to amend the constitution, the Carcaterra government re-introduced capital punishment, secured electoral reform and federalised law enforcement.
In 2018, a series of laws aimed at censoring debate or reference to Solarian War-era war crimes in academia was condemned by the Euclean Community, this led to the banning and blocking of Le Monde, a Gaullican newspaper, sparking the 2018 EC-Etruria Crisis and the Pietromontecorvino Incident. Riding a wave of patriotism and popular support against what was conceived as EC infringement of Etrurian sovereignty, Carcaterra led the Tribune Movement to a second landslide victory in a snap election, winning a supermajority in the Chamber of Representatives and a two-thirds majority in the State Council, establishing the first single-party government since 1984.
Since the 2018 election, the Carcaterra government has enacted further reforms that have led to significant democratic backsliding in Etruria. Judicial reforms under the guise of combatting corruption in the justice system has led to serious declines in judicial independence, Operation Gladio, which led to the detention of 5,800 suspected organised criminals, also led to the seizure and sale of hundreds of published, digital, radio and television outlets to pro-Tribune companies or consortiums, undermining freedom of the press. This was followed by the sacking and institutional capture of ARE, the nation’s public broadcaster by the Carcaterra government. In 2020, the Carcaterra government passed a law and constitutional amendment, effectively banning abortion nationally. The same year it was reported that the National Audit Office was being used to persecute critics and NGOs with invasive and disruptive tax audits. In late 2020, a second electoral reform law was passed that is widely condemned for its gerrymandering and unfair benefits to the Tribune Movement.
Carcaterra’s social conservatism, right-wing populism and advocacy of what he describes as an "traditional and virtuous state" have attracted significant international. He is viewed by some in Etruria as overseeing a drift toward authoritarianism.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 Senate
- 3 Presidency (2016-present)
- 3.1 First term (2016-2018)
- 3.2 2018 General election
- 3.3 Second term (2018-present)
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Public profile
Early life and career
Carcaterra was born on the 6 June 1964 in Tyrrenhus, to Giorgio, a foreman at the Gianelli-Scalto Steel Mill and Aurelia, an office secretary. They lived in the working-class district of Castel Madaglia, which according to Carcaterra, “was as much an influencer on my life as my parents, in Castel Madaglia, you had a loving close community anchored with tradition and religion.” In 1969, Carcaterra attended the Santa Cecilia Catholic School, before graduating to the Classical Lyceum “Ricardo Dandarini.” Carcaterra then secured a Church-funded scholarship to study History at the University of San Michele, the most prestigious in Etruria. In 1979, Carcaterra secured his doctora in Etrurian History, his lecturers during his PhD studies remarked later, his “intense ability and skill to discerning details from historical events in relation to the modern day.”
Between 1980 and 1989, Carcaterra worked as a senior research consultant for the National Museum of Etrurian History, playing a key role in the development of exhibitions on the Etrurian First Republic, Etrurian Revolution and the Greater Solarian Republic. During this period, he also joined the Academic Association for Etrurian History, a controversial group of right-wing academics, who regularly produced books and thesis countering what they perceived to be a “left-wing and politically motivated presentation of historical fact.” Between 1985 and 1989, Carcaterra wrote several best-selling books on Etrurian history, his series on Renaissance Etruria were critically acclaimed.
In 1989, Carcaterra secured a lecturing position at San Michele, teaching masters and doctorate level students Etrurian history. He would hold this position until 2009. His teaching style was described as “personal and energetic”, while some students throughout his academic career did note an emotional bias toward the Etrurian First Republic, the Revolution and a “stunted” approach toward the controversial atrocities of the Solarian War, despite this, he was popular with his students.
In 1994, he caused controversy nationally with his book, the ”The Republic of Heaven: Esoteric Extremism or Catholicism’s Salvation?”, in which he called the Etrurian First Republic, the “greatest expression of Catholicism’s political potential, in manner that is universal as it is inherently and intrinsically Etrurian.” According to his biographer, Luigi Marco Manin, the 1994 controversy was both a precursor to the 2006 controversy over ”A Solarian Etruria”, as well as an “influential point, when Carcaterra, the right-wing academic rejected the adulation of the Greater Solarian Republic, like so many before him, for a veneration of the revolutionary Etrurian First Republic.”
In 2002 and 2004, Carcaterra took to writing his ambitious book yet, a full analysis of the Greater Solarian Republic. The book, though becoming a national best-seller and earning him an estimated ₣4.5 million (€2.8 million) in royalties and being critically acclaimed, sparked a serious academic debate. The book, ”A Solarian Etrurian” contained what many academics saw as an advocacy for several GRS-era policies, such as Etrurianitas and strong central government, and a denial of any war crimes or atrocities. It was the latter that resulted in Carcaterra being removed from San Michele as a senior lecturer, his sacking sparked a backlash among Etrurian society and despite being offered compensation and a return to his post, Carcaterra rejected it, telling interviewers on ARE in late 2004, “I have no wish to debase myself and my beliefs constructed through analysis and study of our nation’s history, by returning to an institution that is hell-bent on peddling theories and agendas that mar or blur historical reality.”
His sacking and public retaliation propelled him into a popular figure among the Etrurian hard-right and far-right, who saw him as a victim of the “pro-EC, anti-Etrurian Proteri Oscuri.” Supported by the financial income made the post-sacking media focus, Carcaterra took up membership of the hard-right National Action party.
Early political career
In 2005, Carcaterra joined National Action. At the time, National Action was predominately a national conservative, Catholic conservative political party, that rarely exceeded 3% of the national vote. In a television interview in 2008, Carcaterra said he joined National Action because it was “civil and reasonable, there is no place for thuggish rhetoric.” Owing to his national reputation and profile, Carcaterra was appointed to the Central Executive Committee of the party by then leader, Umberto Fafani.
Carcaterra used his position on the CEC to urge for a refining of the party’s message, citing the endemic corruption of the establishment parties (the Etrurian Federalist Party and the Social Democratic Party) at the federal and state levels. He also urged for a refining of the traditional values platform, suggesting the party come out directly opposing same-sex civil unions, abortion and the secularisation of schooling. Impressed, Fafani backed Carcaterra’s proposal in time for the 2006 snap local and state elections in Veratia. The clearer platform and Carcaterra’s own approach to campaigning for candidates delivered National Action 10 seats in the State Assembly and over 60 seats locally across Etruria’s largest state.
In the run-up to the 2009 federal election, Carcaterra was selected as National Action’s first candidate for the San Giovanni II seat, a suburban area west of Tyrrenhus. He also played a significant role in the party’s manifesto for the year’s election, building on the success of the Veratian campaign. Etruria had escaped relatively unscathed the 2005 Financial Crisis, however, the tax cuts and stimulus launched under the SDP-led government headed by President Vinko Begović was widely condemned as benefiting only middle-income areas of the country. This marked Carcaterra’s first foray into working-class focused populism. Eager to build up on momentum, party leader Umberto Fafani began to attack the open-borders approach of the SDP government, committing numerous damaging gaffes and being openly accused of racism and sexism by the press. Fafani’s comments damaged National Action, wiping out its 9% average poll ratings, which would have seen it achieve the 5% threshold for seats in the Senate. On election day, National Action won only 3.9% of the vote, failing to win any seats, including Carcaterra’s San Giovanni II.
Following the disastrous result, the CEC of National Action voted out Fafani as party leader. Carcaterra announced his own candidacy for party leader and won by a landslide 78% against two other state-level politicians. His first act as leader, was to institute a party-wide rule book for public relations, this included a series of lectures by him for party candidates on behaviour, rhetoric and conduct. This was followed by a complete removal of any references on immigration. This was followed by the expulsion of noted neo-functionalists, which led to praise from the mainstream press.
In mid-2009, Carcaterra announced his plans to enter negotiations with the other two major hard-right political parties in Etruria; the People’s Radical Party (Partito Radicale Popolare) and the Justice and Freedom Party (Partito Giustizia e Libertà), to form an electoral bloc. In an interview with television reporters, Carcaterra said, “unless the right of Etruria unites, we will never succeed in shattering the corrupt and criminal monopoly held by the establishment centre-left and so-called centre-right.”
Coalition of the Right
In the spring of 2010, he arranged for a meeting of the three party leaderships and through negotiation, succeeded in forming a unified electoral alliance, known as the Coalition of the Right (Coalizione di Destra). Very quickly, Carcaterra and his allies from National Action were able to mould the bloc's political views and platform. Carcaterra dismissed the traditions of the other parties, of often blunt language and racist anti-immigrant rhetoric, instead, he pursued a focus on income disparity, declining cultural traditionalism and rampant political corruption.
The CdD saw its first electoral success in 2011, following the collapse of the Red-Blue coalition in the state of Palestrina. In the 2011 Palestrina state election, the Coalition won 29 seats out of the 280 in contention, while the centre-right Etrurian Federalist Party was able to form a coalition with the christian democrat Libertas party, this was the most successful result for the hard-right for decades. The seats gained and the 21% of the popular vote vindicated Carcaterra's argument for softening the tone. His personal success further emboldened him and his allies from National Action to further liberalise the hard-right's most contentious positions.
The centralisation of organisation and leadership within the Coalition was hastened by the departure of Enrico Sorelli, the leader of the JFP. Sorelli was a "old-time right-winger" and held personal and familial ties to the National Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Nazionale), a legal successor to the National Solarian Front of the Greater Solarian Republic regime. Sorelli was replaced by Gianfranco Galizia, a more moderate and modern political mind. Galizia and Carcaterra swiftly developed a close rapport that eased the modernisation process.
Following Sorelli's departure, the three parties of the coalition met in late January 2012 to discuss a renewed and more cohesive political platform. This led to a significant shift of the CDD toward the centre-right in some areas of policy. This included the introduction of a monthly payment to families with one child or more under the age of 30, improved women's right in the workplace, improved maternity leave provisions and an expansion of government subsidies for healthcare. Conversely, the CDD announced it would restore capital punishment, national service, mandatory sentencing and a major overhaul of the electoral system and judiciary to confront organised crime and corruption. The CDD's anti-elite and populist message was further refined, which would be a key cause for the Tribune Movement's landslide victory four years later.
July 2012, President Emiliano Reali announced that his government would organise a referendum on membership of the Euclean Community. Owing to Etruria's progress of meeting the EC's membership standards was still short, the Reali government penciled the referendum for July 2016. The shock announcement sent the right-wing of Etrurian politics into a tailspin as no major movement or indication of securing membership had been raised since 2005. In response, the Coalition of the Right met for an emergency congress in August and agreed to formally unite into the Tribune Movement. Carcaterra became Federal Leader, whilst Galizia was appointed Federal Secretary and party deputy leader.
The formation of the Tribune Movement in 2012, unified the Etrurian right for the first time since 1984 and provided Etrurian voters with the first major alternative to the centre-right Etrurian Federalist Party. The announcement of an EC membership referendum also energised the Right, leading to a series of defections from the Pro-EC EFP by Eucloskeptic senators to the Tribune Movement. Two of these figures, Ettore Mantovano and Leandro Ladarola, who would go on to serve as Vice President and Finance Minister respectively.
Carcaterra was adept at packing the party’s Federal Executive with supporters and loyal allies, but also figures who shared his desire to “civilise the right” and had the capacity to enforce it. In a speech to Tribune activists, which was uploaded onto social media he described the Tribune’s mission as, “the pursuit of nationalist, populist and sovereigntist agenda based on scientific approaches. We must denounce open borders not as the racist and thuggish ways of yesterday, but through science. We oppose open borders not because these people are foreign, don’t share our values, but because mass migration places undue pressure on public services, which this country sadly, cannot even provide adequately for its indigenous citizens.” To further cement the abandonment of openly racist language, the Federal Executive banned Tribune candidates from operating their own social media accounts, instead placing control in the hands of electoral agents.
The message discipline of the Tribune Movement from 2012 and 2013 enabled it to carve out an exclusive position for those who opposed EC membership, while its social media campaigns proved highly superior to that of the establishment parties. Carcaterra described the Tribune Movement’s platform in the lead up to the 2013 federal election as, “no to EC membership, no to mass migration, no to foreign control of our rights and no to corruption.”
Carcaterra was appointed to the seat of San Pietro della Abbadia Lariana, a suburban district of eastern Tyrrenhus, near his childhood home. Carcaterra became the Tribune leader in the Chamber of Representatives and proved a capable debater and orator.
As a member of the senate, Carcaterra developed a reputation as an avid district representative, regularly meeting with his district voters. He would regularly attack the Reali government rather than ask questions and held significant authority and sway among Tribune senators. 18 months after the election, he infamously asked President Emiliano Reali, “I would like to ask the President today, which fashion house bribed him to wear their suit today? And perhaps he would like to twirl for us” His question followed a news story that President Reali had been gifted a €1,500 tailored suit from Armada, Etruria’s most famous fashion designer. In early 2014, he again entered the public limelight for asking President Reali, “I would like to ask the President whether he has ever met a steel welder? If so, did he ever explain to that fine man why he seeks to destroy his entirely universe by adopting policies that will only unleash suffering and poverty?” The same month, Carcaterra denounced Finance Minister Massimiliano Papandrea in the Chamber as the “soulless creature who emerges at night, not to steal children, but to destroy the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the working class. He comes not for blood, but for your future.”
In 2015, Carcaterra was elected President of the Senatorial Committee on Justice and Law Enforcement.
In 2015, following the passing of a bill that extended senatorial immunity from prosecution until 2020 (this was repealed in 2016 following the Tribune victory), Carcaterra denounced the Etrurian federal legislature as the “pulsating lair of beasts, who’s nests are feathered with the souls of ordinary Etrurians. As of now, our ancestors from the Solarian Republic, Empire, the renaissance states, the First Republic howl in indignation at this blatant act of smug arrogance. This place is the gaping maw of hell and Satan’s claws are scratching your backs.”
Carcaterra’s brief tenure as an opposition leader enabled the Tribune Movement and himself to present themselves as the champions of the average Etrurian, the manual worker, lower and middle income earners. Whilst his regularly attacks on corruption fuelled and entrenched the party’s perception as the anti-corruption crusaders.
On 14 March 2016, Francesco Carcaterra officially announced the formation of the Etruria Says No (L'Etruria Dice No) campaign, to represent the No-vote in the upcoming EC referendum. To the surprise and shock of many Pro-Eucleans, the No-campaign saw an immediate surge in volunteers, donations and official endorsements by several businesses, trade unions and leading eucloskeptics across the political spectrum.
Though polls indicated a landslide victory for Yes throughout 2016, Carcaterra proved a capable campaigner, addressing large open-air rallies and making adept use of social media. The No-campaign’s simplified position and message discipline was in stark contrast to the Yes-campaign, which lacked a singular body and instead boasted four independent campaigns, that rarely coordinated their efforts. Commentators at the time bemoaned the chaotic nature of the Yes-campaign, with Il Popolo writing, “much like the civil politics of the centre, the effort to secure Etruria a spot in the EC is now falling victim to ego, selfishness and inter-personal rivalries. And there on the side of regression and dog whistles is a singular message, a singular point and one man, Francesco Carcaterra.”
Throughout April and May, polls indicated a steady increase for the No-vote, aided by repeated public spats and contradictory messages by the Yes-campaigns. While the race was tightening, the Yes-campaign still held a 12 point lead.
On May 18, a televised debate was held between Francesco Carcaterra and President Emiliano Reali, who led the Euclean Etruria campaign, the designated official group for Yes. The debate was marred by vicious battles between the Yes-campaigns who demanded they all be represented at the debate, rather than relying on Reali. The debate was widely seen as a disaster for Reali and the Yes-campaigns, with Carcaterra continuingly attacking Reali on a study that showed the common market would have devastating effects on Etruria’s manufacturing industry. Reali’s answer on whether Etrurian farmers would be protected, “there have to be concession to secure membership, farmers will have to take it” was portrayed as elitist and arrogant by Carcaterra who replied, “and so rural Etruria is thrown under the bus of globalism.”
The debate saw Yes’ lead close to just 5 points, but stabilised. Notably, the Yes-campaigns agreed to no further debates with Carcaterra.
On June 20, the entire campaign was thrown into chaos when federal agents arrested the Minister of Infrastructure and Development’s chief of staff. On June 21, a further 24 aides to at least four cabinet ministers and the director-general of the National Audit Office were arrested for corruption. On June 22, the Miraviglia Scandal broke, engulfing the entire Reali government, including President Reali himself and Vice President Andrea Salvini.
Carcaterra and the No-campaign immediately conflated the scandal and corruption with EC membership. Controversially, the No-campaign began to spread a conspiracy theory on social media and on the campaign trail, that if Etruria joined the EC, corruption would go on unpunished as the “EC only likes globalists and the liberal-left.” The accusation that Etruria’s judicial system would be subordinate to the EC legal structure further fuelled its claims that corruption trials would collapse on purpose to protect the pro-EC elite.
The scandal decimated the Yes-vote’s lead and on May 3, the No-vote was found to hold a twenty-point lead over Yes. The side lining of Reali on the campaign trail by SDP leader, Giorgio Abbate saw Yes cut No’s lead by 9 points on the day of voting.
On 5 July, the leaders of the campaigns were permitted one broadcasted message. Carcaterra used the corruption scandal to once again conflate criminality with the EC:
“it is important now to see who it is that wishes us to join the EC. It is the media, it is the globalist centrists and centre-left, it is the judiciary, it is those who have been politics for decades and yet do nothing for the ordinary Etrurian, you. What do these people and factions have in common? They’re corruption and criminal. They steal, they lie and they abuse because they have lofty aspirations and are politically correct. If we join the EC tomorrow, these people will never be held to account and their abuses and violations against our country will continue indefinitely. We must vote no tomorrow, vote no for justice, democracy, liberty, civility, civic duty and clean politics.”
On 6 July, Etruria voted against EC membership 55% to 44%, with every state with the exceptions of Altidona, Chiastre and Peravia. The same day, President Emiliano Reali resigned and was succeeded by Andrea Salvini, the result effectively ended thirty-years of progress by Etruria toward EC membership and threw its relations with the bloc into a tailspin, primarily due to the falsehoods spread by the No-campaign. The referendum also served as a cataylst for a resurgence in Etrurian nationalism and the far-right, whilst opinion polls for political parties showing the Tribune Movement in the lead with 43% of voters. In a short televised statement, Carcaterra described the No-victory as the "day we renewed our faith, love and trust in our country, truly the greatest to ever grace God's creation."
2016 federal election
The resignation of Emiliano Reali inflicted significant damage on the governing Etrurian Federalist Party, the arrest of aides to ministers belonging to the Sotirian DemocraticLibertas party threatened to collapse the coalition. President Andrea Salvini, who was named as suspect as Reali’s Vice President further eroded public trust. The scandal which as of 10 July, now expanded to included members of the SDP on separated charges, coupled with the establishment parties’ defeat in the EC referendum supplied the Tribune Movement with historic momentum. On July 11, Carcaterra in a video posted on social media demanded an election, saying, “the criminals have been laid low by the people, now they must vacate government. It is over.”
Anti-government protests over the Miraviglia Scandal became a daily occurrence in the days after the EC referendum, while scuffles between Pro-EC and the far-right turned violent. In an article written in the right-leaning Telegrafo Solariano, Carcaterra said, “we are witnessing the collapse of the Etrurian status-quo, to many this is a sad affair, government collapsing, protests and fights in the street, but in truth this is a moment of charged revolutionism, this is a moment for real change.”
On July 20, the Farmers and Workers Union withdrew from the governing coalition, citing “irreconcilable differences of policy and integrity.” The FWU withdrawal denied the EFP its majority and ultimately forced President Salvini to call a general election.
Carcaterra and the Tribune Movement immediately posted a manifesto that focused near exclusively on combatting corruption. The most prolific promise made by the Tribunes during the August election was to revoke immunity for senators, enabling them to be charged with criminality. The Tribune Movement complimented its anti-corruption promises with various economic reforms, increases to the minimum wage, improved workers’ rights, restrictions on immigration and to federalise law enforcement.
On 10 August 2016, the Tribune Movement won a landslide victory, winning 41.60% of the popular vote, though owing to the country’s electoral system, it fell short of majority. Neogitations that took place during the election with the FWU saw the two parties enter coalition on 11 August, with Carcaterra assuming office as President of Etruria.
First term (2016-2018)
Upon assuming office, Francesco Carcaterra’s first action was to establish his Federal Cabinet. Some notable appointments included, Ettore Mantovano as his Vice President, while Gianfranco Galizia as Foreign Minister, Tullio Quagliariello as Interior Minister and Leandro Laezza as Finance Minister. Davor Krstičević, the leader of the Farmers and Workers Union was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Environment, while other FWU senators were appointed to low-level cabinet positions. The appointment of Laezza as Finance Minister calmed the markets and business leaders, who had previously become concerned over the party’s economic nationalist credentials. His appointment rallied the markets in wake of the shocks seen in wake of the EC vote and the general election.
The first official act of the TM-FWU government was to table a bill repealing immunity from prosecution for Senators. In a television appearance before the vote, President Carcaterra said, “to Reali, Salvini and every minister of the previous government who held their seats, we are coming for you.” On August 25, the repeal bill passed both houses of the Senate. On August 26, federal agents arrested over 20 members of the Reali government, including the former President and Vice President. This was followed by the Provisional Budget on October 3, in which Income Tax was cut by 5% for middle-income workers and the exclusionary bracket was lowered from ₣13,000 a year to ₣10,000, removing 4.5 million people from paying the tax. The Federal Minimum Wage was increased from ₣4.50 to ₣6.90 per hour. And raft of subsidies aimed at supporting Etruria’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors were announced, including a fuel subsidy.
Between August 2016 and February 2017, the government shut down over 30 federal agencies and bodies dedicated to instituting policies and reforms needed for Etruria to reach EC membership standards, including bodies focused on press freedoms, judicial independence, anti-discrimination and democratic processes.
As the coalition government lacked the necessary two-thirds majority in the State Council of the Federation to amend the constitution at will, and noting the intense obstructionism of the Citizens’ Alliance toward constitutional reform, the government opted to utilise the Referendum By-Pass Clause. The RBPC enables a federal government to amend the constitution if its proposal is backed by a popular referendum.
On September 23, the government announced plans to abolish Overseas Seats and end Etrurians overseas being able to vote in federal elections. Carcaterra justified the amendment saying, “it is not right that Etrurians who have left this country to live elsewhere having a say on how the homeland is governed. I know Etrurians do not care much for the opinions of people who don’t experience life here anymore.” This was followed by a proposal to restore capital punishment for serious crimes and amendments prohibiting the privatisation of the railways, electricity, gas and telecoms. On November 18, these amendments were accepted by a popular referendum with the backing of 66% of the electorate.
On May 21, Carcaterra held lengthy talks with Davor Krstičević, the leader of the Farmers and Workers Union, the Tribunes’ coalition partner. During this talks, Carcaterra successfully garnered Krstičević’s support for the long-awaited electoral reform proposal. Many commentators cite this meeting as the entrenchment of the Tribune-FWU electoral alliance. On May 24, in a televised address, President Carcaterra announced plans to hold a third constitutional referendum introducing electoral reforms that would in his words, "deliver Etruria the enhanced and empowered democracy needed to truly ensure the reforms and changes needed to expedite our economic growth. We must empower our democracy to strive forward from the day we renewed our love for our country."
On June 4, the government produced its electoral reform proposal, reintroducing first-past-the-post to 420 single-member constitutencies, while 260 seats would retain the proportional representation system. The proposal's FPTP seats would be drawn out of historic FPTP seats, which existed until the 1998 electoral reform law which universalised PR. Many noted at the time that Novalia's FPTP seats selected by the Tribune reform were all FWU strongholds, while seats elsewhere appeared to be random and non-beneficial to any party. Election experts agreed that the proposed changes by the Tribunes would end coalition governments in Etruria indefinitely.
On August 5 2017, the second major referendum was held on the question of the electoral reform, which passed with 89% of the vote, notably no major party opposed the reform. The electoral system adopted would be officially enforced at the next general elected dated for 2020/21. However, owing to it being constructed on a previous system, the restructuring of the electoral system was completed by April 2018.
In the summer of 2017, the government passed a series of laws banning Senators from holding simultaneous jobs on company boards, lobbying firms or public relations firms.
On October 9, President Carcaterra announced the government’s plan to federalise all law enforcement agencies in Etruria, with the intent of establishing a singular and accountable service. This also included the abolition of the Federal Crime Agency and the establishment of a “improved, effective and focused replacement.” In order to federalise law enforcement, a second constitutional amendment was needed. However, this in turn was to be amended. On November 20, a second constitutional referendum was held, passing with 75% of the vote. This amendment made federalisation non-constitutional and subject to the executive authority of the federal government, whilst the country’s 18 law enforcement bodies were unified into the National Police Service. Notably, the prison, customs and coast guard services were subordinated to the NPS, in what the left-leaning press described as the “singular most striking centralisation of power by a government since the end of the military dictatorship.” On January 1 2018, the Federal Crime Agency was replaced with the Civil Security Service, notably its first Commanding-General, was Ercolano Tauriello, whose brother, Mauro Tauriello also serves as the State Secretary for the Tribune Movement in Palestrina
On November 3 2017, the Carcaterra government passed the Federal Party Funding Act, which effectively banned corporate donations to political parties, and instead introduced a capped lump-sum to paid by the Federal government to each political party, with the amount tiered on the basis of the number of seats. Private donations from voters was maintained and uncapped. This reform was condemned by the smaller opposition parties, especially the Etrurian Federalist Party and Social Democratic Party, who saw their income revenues slashed by almost 56% and 48% respectively.
The first year of the Tribune-FWU government was widely considered to be “dull and unexpected.” The long-term affiliation of the Tribune Movement with the Etrurian far-right failed to manifest itself, as the coalition government focused near entirely on passing reforms, most of which were considered long overdue even by left-leaning newspapers. In a now iconic opinion piece, the liberal columnist and commentator Vittore Alessandri wrote in late 2017, “perhaps government is the best tool of temperance, for years did not fear the monsters that could be unleashed by a Tribune government. And yet, just over a year into this government, the Carcaterra who is President is not the flag-waving, demagogic conspiracy theorist of the referendum, but seemingly the rather analytical, technocratic history professor of his past.” By the start of 2018, Carcaterra’s approval rating had reached a record high of 68%, making him the most popular politician since Miloš Vidović, the first elected leader after the twenty-year military junta. The Tribune Movement was polling as high as 45%, a 4-point increase from 2016. A series of meetings of the Federal Executive of the Tribune Movement were held, ostensibly leading to the consensus to begin “instituting patriotic laws.” In comments made by Interior Minister Tullio Quagliariello in late 2019, it was revealed that the “dullness of the first year” was intentional, he said, “our entire agenda hinged on the premise that you enter government calm and relatively temperate in nature. Once popularity is high and you’ve proven to deliver, the people trust you, you can begin to enact the true ideals of the Movement.” The message discipline seen since the party’s founding in 2012 began to give way, as more and more Tribune senators began to make controversial statements and government attacks on its critics and left-wing press increased exponentially in the first few weeks of 2018. In a major speech to party supporters in Povelia on January 25, President Carcaterra said, “for too long, our country has been beset by nefarious elements within our own society. These nefarious forces who see patriotism as parochial and vulgar, those who see veneration of Etrurian history as a crime against sensibilities and nefarious forces who would teach our children that our nation is a stain upon the tapestry of human history.” Government rhetoric toward Etruria’s non-white minorities also soured. Repeated accusations of the previous government “overlooking the rape culture of Coius” were widely condemned, as many blamed them for increases in both racist verbal and physical attacks. On 5 February, the government passed a law prohibiting the construction of minarets at Irfanic Mazars, this was rejected by the Supreme Constitutional Court for violating freedom of religious expression, though the government promised a second attempt.
Judicial Reform Law
In March, five of the seven justices on the Supreme Constitutional Court were arrested by the Civil Security Service for connections to the Miraviglia Scandal. The justices were suspected of being bribed in exchange for writing in support of the Reali Government’s Federal Acquisition Law, which introduced eminent domain to Etruria. The Miraviglia investigation found the FAL was integral to the corrupt scheme central to the scandal.
Citing the corruption of the SCC, the Carcaterra government announced its intention to “overhaul the entire justice system, top to bottom.” With the court lacking a quorum, it would be unable to pass judgement on legislation, the Judicial Reform Law which was introduced just one week after the arrests, granted the federal government power to appoint and sack SCC justices at will without Senatorial confirmation. The same law also provided the government the right to appoint and dismiss members of the Federal Judicial Appointments Commission, which is charged with dealing with vacancies at lower levels of the federal court system. It passed both chambers of the Senate and on March 30, the government appointed five new replacements to the SCC, ostensibly securing a pro-government majority. The entire affair resulted in a diplomatic spat with the Euclean Community, which denounced the erosion of judicial independence. The entire process of reform was championed by the government under its anti-corruption banner, with President Carcaterra telling lawmakers on April 1, “we have struck a fatal blow against those in the justice system who use their position for enrichment at the expense of the rule of law.”
In April, the government passed the National Dignity Law which prohibited academic institutions from referencing or claiming Etruria committed historic war crimes in the Solarian War. The incident sparked a major backlash from academics and students, leading to the 2018 Etrurian student protests. The controversy over the new law escalated with an article published by the Gaullican newspaper Le Monde, which was also posted on its Vespasian-langauge website. The Carcaterra government demanded the article be taken down for violating the National Dignity Law, which Le Monde refused to do. On April 20, the Etrurian government blocked Le Monde and issued a fine notice of €585,000. The EC in recognition of the “serious breaches of civil liberties and judicial independence in Etruria” warned that unless Le Monde was unblocked and the Judicial Reform Law was repealed, it would institute sanctions against Etruria. The Carcaterra government condemned the threat, accusing the EC of attempting to orchestrate a coup. In a televised address, President Carcaterra said, “under no circumstances will this government permit outside forces to dictate the policy or direction of Etruria. We rejected membership for this reason and now the EC intends to ignore the result this an attack on our sovereignty.” As tensions between Etruria and the EC escalated, the government’s popularity increased as Etrurians rallied around the government. Pro-EC groups and newspapers were vociferously attacked on social media and their isolated cases of opposition politicians and journalists being physically attacked by far-right football Ultras, who support the Tribune Movement. Seizing on its rising popularity and seeking to use democracy as a means of legitimising his government’s position, on April 10 Francesco Carcaterra announced a snap election that will take place on 8 June. The government’s popularity would surge in late April and early May, when the Pietromontecorvino Incident made international headlines. An attempt by the Caldish government to smuggle disgraced former President Emiliano Reali out of the country by utilising forged passports sent shockwaves across Euclea. Reali who was on trial for the Miraviglia Scandal was seen as a victim of a political plot by the Tribune Movement, with Caldish Taoiseach, Jimmy O'Reilly playing a central role. After initial confusion, as to whether the bags containing the forged documents were diplomatic bags, it was later revealed that the Carcaterra government had claimed they were, before u-turning after O'Reilly had assured the Caldish Comhthionól Náisiúnta that they were not. The Etrurian reveal forced O’Reilly to resign. The incident further emboldened the Carcaterra government and its rising popularity.
2018 General election
Heading into the June federal election, the Carcaterra government held almost 50% of the vote according to national polls. The government was further aided by the focus being on the crisis with the EC, denying the opposition parties the opportunity to draw attention to other issues. Throughout the campaign, President Carcaterra claimed this election was a referendum on his government, “if you believe we are fighting for you and Etruria’s sovereignty, then vote for us.” The Tribunes rejected all proposals for a television debate, though the President was ultimately empty-chaired at one event on June 1. The party promised further social and economic reform and a monthly payment scheme for young families, known as Famiglia+, crackdowns on organised crime, immigration and the restoration of traditional values.
The Citizens’ Alliance, under Vittoria Vetra adopted a platform of re-holding the EC referendum, calling the initial result an “aberration caused by the establishment’s boundless corruption.” The CA’s policy of a second EC referendum was attacked by the Tribunes as a “secondary front in the EC’s plot to subdue Etruria’s democratic choice in 2016.”
The election was the first to be held following the 2017 Electoral Reform referendum. President Carcaterra led his party to a second landslide victory, with 48% of the popular vote. The party secured 414 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 194 seats in the State Council, securing its much prized two-thirds majority in the upper-house. The party also won landslides in the states of Carinthia, Palestrina, Tarpeia and Veratia. As a result, the Tribune Movement became the first single-party government since 1984 and arguably the most powerful.
Second term (2018-present)
Following the Tribune landslide, tensions with the EC subsided, aided both by the government victory and the repeal of the Judicial Reform Law on June 20, though the pro-government majority on the Supreme Constitutional Court was maintained. On 3 March 2020, the Judicial Reform Law was reintroduced into law as an addendum to the Family Protection Law, which banned abortion through constitutional amendment. The re-election of the Tribunes however, provoked student protests, who demanded an end to the National Dignity Law. These student protests grew to include many age groups and professions, before being subdued by riot police. The protests led to accusations of police brutality and excessive force. In July, the Carcaterra government repealed numerous laws and regulations relating to police brutality and abolished the Independence Policing Inspectorate.
With a supermajority in both chambers of the Senate, the second term was promised to be “radical in scope and traditional in objectives” according to Carcaterra. On 10 June, Carcaterra instituted a minor cabinet reshuffle, replacing Ettore Mantovano with Vittoria Vasari as Vice President. Mantovano was moved to become President of the Chamber of Representatives. The FWU ministers were replaced with Tribune senators, most of whom served in key positions in the Coalition of the Right between 2009 and 2012. The left-leaning press remarked that these new faces were all right-wing, with Vice President Vasari, though being the first woman to hold the office, was a noted to have a history of far-right extremism and is the granddaughter of Giulio Cesare Vasari, a convicted war criminal from the Solarian War.
The Carcaterra government and the Tribune Movement generally have been described as social conservative and populist on social matters. While the first term of government (2016-2018) saw little in the way of social policy or reform, the second term (2018-present) has produced major social policies and actions. Since 2018, the Carcaterra government has consistently champion morality, traditional values and family-centric living. This has been conducted policy wise through the Famiglia+ policy, changes to the early school curriculum, public information campaigns and in early 2020, the legal and constitutional banning of abortion.
The Carcaterra government’s approach to education in Etruria has been limited owing to the states possessing much of the authority over school administration. However, the curriculum being set by the federal government has seen dramatic changes since 2018. The first such change came with the National Dignity Law in 2018, which essentially silenced universities from discussing, debating or referencing Etrurian historic war crimes, verbally, digitally or printed.
In 2017, the Carcaterra government announced the Universal Education Quality Program (Programma di Qualità dell'Istruzione Universale; PROQISU), a €2.5 billion scheme aimed at providing more funding for rural and inner-city schools to improve their quality of teaching to reach the official ranking of "acceptable." This also included a significantly tightening of standards at the Federal Office for Educational Standards (UFFQUALI) and an increased number of inspections per year from 3 to 8, while Uffquali was granted further powers to sack teachers who consistently failed inspections and reviews. Proqisu was widely praised by teachers unions and parents.
In late 2018, the government scrapped the free contraception scheme introduced in 2012 under President Emiliano Reali. As of 1 January 2019, Etrurian lyceums and high schools would no longer distribute condoms to its students upon request. The same law scrapped sexual health lectures for 16-18-year olds, as it was claimed to be “sexualising the Etrurian youth.”
In May 2019, the national curriculum was altered to focus on key “future economic sectors”, with the introduction of coding, app design and further lessons for information technology for at all three levels of general education. Numerous foreign history subjects were ejected for solely Etrurian history, except for the Great War. Further changes included alterations of history textbooks covering the Solarian War, with the complete removal of all war crimes references.
The National Union of Educators (UNE) the textbook changes, claiming that the new textbooks were revising history to present the Greater Solarian Republic as waging a defensive war against its former allies. The same report by the UNE claimed the books contained highly emotive descriptions of Etruria, Etrurian culture and history, that they claimed was promoting chauvinism and racism. The report was condemned by President Francesco Carcaterra personally, who said in a statement, “this report pours bile and invective onto the desire to teach students to be proud Etrurians. This is the same union that wants to shower our children with condoms, contraceptive pills, homosexual porn and rainbow propaganda.”
In 2020, the Carcaterra government announced plans to introduce debt forgiveness for young post-graduate married couples between the ages of 24-35 who have at least one child. This would be designed to compliment the Famiglia+ scheme which is focused primarily on this age group. This was followed by a further promise to subsidise student housing costs for middle-income families, while an earlier commitment to introduce free tuition was rejected, with Carcaterra going further to deny ever making the promise.
Despite being a self-professed social conservative party, the Tribune Movement government under President Carcaterra has introduced several reforms and laws aimed at improving women’s rights. In 2019, the Divorce Rights Law was passed, which brought Etrurian divorce law to Euclean standards, especially in terms of property and settlements between couples. The same law also guaranteed custody of children with the mother in cases of domestic abuse – prior to this, custody was settled by decision of the judges present at the divorce hearing.
The same year, the Carcaterra government passed the National Maternity Rights Law, which increased the duration of paid maternity leave from 3 months to 6 months and introduced 12-month full pay maternity leave for federal employees. Employees in the private sector would also have their job secured under the same law, if they took six months maternity, or should the employer wish to refill the position full-time, would be required to pay a full-years salary to the mother. The National Maternity Rights Law was praised and secured Etruria as possessing one of the best maternity leave laws in the world.
In January 2020, the Carcaterra government passed the National Family Protection Law, which bans abortions at any stage of a pregnancy, though with exceptions where a foetus has a lethal anomaly (where it would cause a stillborn birth), the pregnancy poses a serious health risk to the woman, or cases of rape or incest. The Law also carried a constitutional amendment, declaring “all persons unborn and living have a undeniable right to life.” The constitutional amendment not only guaranteed the states providing loopholes, but also invalidated abortions due to foetal abnormality, such as genetic diseases. The Law is awaiting a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court, which is likely to rule in favour of, owing to the constitutional amendment passed by the Tribune Movement’s two-thirds majority in the upper-house of the Senate. The Law was subject to controversy over the role of senior Etrurian Cardinals played in its writing, the Law also boasts the support of the Catholic Church in Etruria, while polls indicate that 49% of Etrurians support the ban. The liberalisation of abortion laws in the late 1980s resulted in mass protests and a surge in pro-life groups and organisations.
The abortion ban’s ruling is expected to provoke mass protests by women’s rights groups and other movements.
Under the Tribune Movement government, LGBT+ rights have been substantially threatened, while the number of hate crimes and institutional discrimination has skyrocketed. The LGBT community has been subject to attacks and insults from the Carcaterra government, who have at times promoted conspiracy theories, such as the “LGBT population control theory”; which posits the supposed promotion of LGBT rights is a means for hidden forces to reduce population growth by advocating same-sex couples.
The Tribune Movement’s social conservatism and Catholic identity has led to repeated attacks on the law allowing for same-sex couples to adopt children. The Tribune Movement has also stated that it may introduce a constitutional amendment, recognising marriage as solely between a man and woman, denying the future possibility of same-sex marriage being adopted with a two-thirds majority in the upper-house of the Senate. President Carcaterra has mused publicly and privately about abolishing civil unions, which were adopted in 2005.
The Carcaterra government has also been blamed for Tribune Movement-state governments’ approach to LGBT+ events, such as Pride. Since 2016, the annual event has been disrupted, blocked or outright banned in several major cities under Tribune administrations. Each time this has been raised at the federal level; the Carcaterra government has referenced the right of Etrurian states to manage such events themselves. In 2019, after the SolariaPride event was cancelled an hour before its launch due to “security concerns”, he told reporters when asked, “what the Solarian city administration or state administration do is for them to decide. It is not the place of the federal government to make comment.” In 2020, the San Francesco Tribune-led state government promised to establish across the entire island a “Traditional Etrurian Status”, which was also described as an LGBT Free Zone by state Tribunes. When condemned, it was defended by the Carcaterra government as a “state right to declare what they deem necessary for the wellbeing of its citizens.” When asked if the federal government would support similar zones in other states, Carcaterra said, “if other states of the Federation want to pursue this, then that is their right in accordance to the constitution.”
The Famiglia+ scheme, introduced in 2019, has been described as the Tribune government’s “crowning achievement.” The scheme pays young married families aged between 24 and 35, ₣500 per child, this increases to ₣950 at the fourth child. This payment is a direct monthly sum paid to the household to be used as the parents see fit. Among other provisions for under Famiglia+ announced in late 2020, include debt forgiveness for post-graduates who qualify for the monthly scheme, government subsidies for mortgages and front-of-the-queue for federal housing.
The official purpose of Famiglia+ is to “assist and support young Etrurian families who are making their first steps toward life’s greatest milestones.” It is also to promote traditional family values, such as marriage, childbearing and home ownership. Notably, the Famiglia+ scheme is only accessible to heterosexual couples with children, as the requirements for access, call for marriage and does not include civil unions.
The Famiglia+ scheme has been widely praised and resulted in a boost of support for the Tribune Movement among the 24-35 age group, who prior to 2019 supported the party by only 28%. As of 2020, this increased to 38%. According to the Institute for Social Mobility, the scheme has lifted 595,432 people out of poverty and may reduce child poverty by over 25% by 2025.
In 2018, following the general election, the Carcaterra government produced the National Healthcare Reform Law, which sought to improve the Federal Health Service and employer-provided private health insurance. The government’s healthcare reforms and wider policy has been described as “healthcare populism”, with the expansion of free treatment at access for the poorest Etrurians, this included all areas of health including dentistry for those earning below ₣26,570 a year. The government’s 2019 healthcare reform also mandated employer-provided coverage for all workers in manufacturing and mining. The 2020 budget saw a 14% increase in health spending, with the aim of modernising over 20 hospitals and constructing over 30 regional clinics.
With the notable exception of providing free federal coverage for low-income families, the government’s health policy has been described as “very much line with the status-quo of the past twenty years.” The columnist, Vittore Alessandri claimed this was much more to do with the fact that, “you can’t be populist with people’s health, its far too important and boring for the government to weaponise against its enemies.”
Law and order
The Tribune Movement passionately believes in strong law and order and this has carried through under the Carcaterra government. The law and order policies of the Carcaterra government have been described as “draconian”, “hard-line” to a “bold necessity.”
In 2017, as part of the wider constitutional referendum, capital punishment was restored for murder, terrorism, treason, and serial child paedophilia. The inclusion of the amendment in the proposed package was condemned by human rights groups. As of 2020, 16 people have been executed in Etruria, most of whom saw their sentences elevated to death from life imprisonment. 10 of whom are serial killers, all sentenced to over 100 years, three are serial child abusers and three were originally sentenced for terrorism.
In 2018, the Carcaterra government was accused of a power-grab when it federalised Etrurian law enforcement and prisons, into the centralised National Police Service, which saw the subordination of the prison service, customs and coast guard. The move was designed to tackle the “incohesive and dis-jointed quality of policing state to state.” This also coincided with the abolition of the Federal Crime Agency with the Civil Security Service which is markedly more militarised than its predecessor. In late 2018, the annual salary of police officers was raised by 8.5%, and the number of officers to be recruited nationwide was stated to be 25,000 by 2025. The Independent Police Inspectorate, a body established in 1993 to investigation complaints of police brutality, abuse of power and corrupt practices was abolished upon federalisation of law enforcement. Since 2017, the Carcaterra government has systematically rolled back laws and regulations managing police behaviour, particularly the use of force.
In the summer of 2020, a collection of human rights groups reported that cases of police brutality had increased by 118% since 2018. The number of deaths in police custody had increased 19 in 2018 to over 40 by 2020. The report’s lead author, Maria Renato at a press conference said, “since the Tribune government federalised law enforcement and abolished the Independent Police Inspectorate, we have witnessed a shocking increase in police brutality and deaths in custody. There is now an established culture of impunity and immunity, where officers are comforted to know that the government has their back should they commit questionable actions.”
A series of law reforms in 2018 and 2019 established minimum mandatory sentences for certain crimes, notably a minimum of six-years for non-violent burglary, 15-years for violent burglary, 25-years for serious bodily harm and 45-years for rape. Parole was abolished for the same crimes.
In 2019, the federal government abolished conjugal visits across the entire prison system, citing it as a “grotesque award for criminality.” The same year, Etrurian prisons saw the removal of all electronic devices, including radios, televisions and games consoles, food quality was drastically reduced according to the Independent Office for Prison Standards, with the Carcaterra government defending its moves as “ending the culture of career criminals find their cell more comfortable than society.” In January 2020, the IOPS was abolished.
Following the Judicial Reform Law of 2018, the Tribune government passed the Civil Security Law, which federalised law enforcement, replaced the Federal Crime Agency with the Civil Security Service and introduced new provisions to combat “National Civil Security Threats”, primarily the mafia. Many of the new provisions were lifted from the military junta-era National Security Constitution, including the granting of powers to confiscate physical and financial assets from “NCSTs”, travel bans for suspects, the denial of habeus corpus for suspects, detention without trial for 41 days for suspects and the right of the federal government to seize businesses directly or indirectly linked to NCSTs.
Between the law’s passing in September, to December, the Civil Security Service was amassing details on thousands of suspected members of organised crime groups in Etruria. They were aided in this by the Etrurian Armed Forces, who provided personnel for the surveillance programme launched with the Law, established databases from the previous state police forces were also used.
During this time President Carcaterra made regular attacks on the mafia, describing them as a “cancerous tumour” and the “parasite sapping the lifeforce from this country.” However, many in the press noted at the time that every Etrurian president since 1984 had expressed a desire to defeat the Mafia, but never followed through owing to a variety of reasons, some corruption within the courts and others not wishing to interfere with investigations, leading to sporadic if often consequential and successful operations against individual figures. This had been regularly criticised by Carcaterra and the wider Tribune Movement, in the 2018 election, Carcaterra said, “you cannot fight and defeat the mafia by playing by the rules you set yourself. The very rules you set yourself are the very same these people work around. Throw out the rules and throw the bastards in prison.”
On the 10 December, over 35,000 police officers, backed by 2,500 Civil Security agents and 1,200 members of the Armed Forces staged the largest nation-wide raid in Etrurian history. The raids were conducted across all fifteen states of Etruria, while some led to gunfights. Overall, 103 people were killed, 173 injured and 11,500 arrested. This number included senior figures, heads of organisations and drug runners. To house these detainees, the government requisitioned disused or in-use military bases and the gymnasiums of police training facilities. Specialist facilities were built to house mafia leaders, to separate them from their subordinates.
Operation Gladio inflicted irreparable damage on the mafia in Etruria, the offer of amnesty for the lower ranking members if they provided evidence against their higher ups proved successful. By October 2020, almost 198 senior Mafia leaders had been sentenced to life imprisonment, while those directly accused of murder were sentenced to death, this number has been estimated at 59.
The operation though successful at devastating the organised criminal network, was subject to protest and controversy. Many civil rights groups claimed the operation "violated every established civil liberty", while allegations of abuse and torture skyrocketed in early 2019. Some of the large holding facilities failed to feed all of its prisoners due to administrative mistakes and in some, the conditions collapsed within days and were left to worsen by authorities. 74-year old mafia leader, Giacomo Spurelli was found beaten to death in a ditch 30km south of his desginated holding facility, while a mid-level operative with the Torre Sacra group was found handcuffed to a tree naked in the the San Giovanni National Park near Faulia. The operation's legal cover under the Civil Security Law would lead to allegations that the Carcaterra government was using alleged "indirect links" to organised crime, to seize and sell media outlets to pro-government individuals and groups. In 2020, the government was accused of making deals with select mafia leaders, for freedom in exchange for kickbacks and favours to the federal government.
Media and press
Under the Tribune Movement government, the media and press in Etruria have come under sustained pressure. The coalition period of 2016-2018 was restricted to mere criticism of the press, the post-2018 period and second term have seen significant upticks in rhetoric against critical outlets and publications, while the aftermath of Operation Gladio resulted in the seizure over 300 printed, digital and televised media groups and their sale to pro-government companies.
Aldo Ferrari of San Michele University wrote in 2020, “Operation Gladio had seemingly two objectives, the destruction of the Mafia and the free press. Since 2018, utilising the provisions provided by the Civil Security Law, the Tribune government has seized countless newspapers, magazines, websites, television studios and radio states, only to sell them on to pro-government businesspeople or consortiums.” According to the Euclean Institute for Press and Media Freedom, the Etrurian press and media has seen its plurality rating drop by over 30 points since 2018. The EIPMF noted that with each seizure and sale of a media outlet, its corresponding message has fallen into a pro-government line. The most infamous case of this process was the previously liberal but party-neutral Osservatore Independente, which was seized by the government following the discovery that its sale to the Borgo Group, involved the mafia. Following its seizure, it was sold to the Carroccio Consortium. Within days, most of its writing staff were sacked and replaced with pro-government writers.
In 2018, the Tribune government introduced “criteria for qualification” for the National Media Support Fund, a federal scheme that provides money to small to medium publications. Among those criteria was a “patriotic approach to news”, “sensible analysis of political events” and “refusals to endorse parties, candidates or policies.” Many of these publications which struggle to secure advertising revenues rely on the fund and ostensibly abided by the new rules, parroting pro-government messages.
In 2019, the Carcaterra government passed the Federal Advertising Oversight Commission, to manage advertising published in newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Though officially in response to a series of controversies involving the printing of contraception adverts in magazines accessible to young children, many critics of the government accused it of using the controversies to seize control of advertising. In 2020, the FAOC stripped the northern Vespasian newspaper, La Posta del Nord, of its advertising, after it published a story claiming the Tribune Movement in Peravia was organising the harassing of opponents, leading to the newspaper facing insolvency. The paper apologised for its “incorrect reporting” and since, has taken a more pro-government editorial position.
In late 2019, the Carcaterra government sacked the entire executive board of ARE, Etruria’s public broadcaster, citing a breakdown in negotiations over the service’s failing to improve quality. The broadcaster was then placed under the lead of Ettore D’Santis, the former director of media relations with the Tribune Movement’s branch in Veratia. D’Santis immediately began to remove and replace key figures in ARE’s newsroom, investigative journalist department and its documentary section. By 2020, the EIPMF had re-classified ARE as “politically compromised.” Many commentators and opposition politicians have condemned the ARE, as becoming a “mouthpiece for the Tribune government.” The new management also axed several programmes such as Vista dell'Orizzonte, a popular investigative journalist show, that had won accolades for its breaking of corruption, plots, and scandals.
Leandro Laezza was retained as Finance Minister, though the economic platform of the second term was economic nationalist in character. With the 2018 budget delayed until July owing to the election, the Carcaterra government announced a raft of major new economic policies.
The 2018 budget included a €250 billion investment plan in federal and state infrastructure for a period running from 2018 to 2030. The plan includes a major expansion of high-speed rail, twenty new regional airports, expansions of freight ports in Accadia, Povelia, Solaria and Vilanja, investments into mining, exploration for fracking sites, metro systems for Solaria and Faulia and improvements to broadband coverage and provision. The agricultural and manufacturing fuel subsidies were renewed for a further ten-year period. The 2018 budget also introduced “Competitive Development Grants” (Sovvenzioni per lo Sviluppo Competitivo), which would be run at the state-level and involve companies competing for lucrative government funds, by producing long-term business plans predicated on employment, wage increases and sustainable growth. Over €4.5 billion was allocated for the SSC scheme. Post-death estates worth up to €350,000 were removed from being susceptible to the Familial Inheritance Tax, while the Income Tax exemption bracket was raised from ₣4,000 to ₣8,000. The 2018 budget also included free childcare for low-income parents who are taking part in vocational training or evening classes.
In September 2018, the Carcaterra government introduced the National Project Reputation Index (Indice di Reputazione del Progetto Nazionale), a register of companies contracted by the federal government for national projects. Companies that deliver on time and within budget score higher than those who fail to do so, ostensibly the higher a company's rating, the more likely they are to be contracted for future projects. The IRPN was widely praised by citizen groups, owing to Etruria's long history of poorly managed projects, with even the relatively smallest of construction plans taken years. Since its introduction, improvements to project delivery have been recorded across the country.
The Tribunes have been known to oppose outsized foreign involvement in the national economy, especially Xiaodongese. In virtually every major national project, be it infrastructure or digital, laws have been passed, prohibiting foreign involvement and relying on Etrurian registered companies. In November 2019, the Carcaterra government passed the National Economic Security Law, which prohibits foreign involvement in telecommunications, energy and utilities.
The Carcaterra government from 2018 onward has been described as “economically populist, with its tax cuts for low earners and huge spending on infrastructure, housing and labour-intensive industries.” However, economists have noted that this spend-free nature is countered by a commitment to deregulation of environmental, financial, and industrial standards. Luciano Conte, a prominent economist wrote in early 2020, the “Tribunes are good for big business, but they’re even better for the poorest workers and the big polluters. To sum up Tribune economic policy, they are fanboys of labour-intensive smoke plume heavy industries and the symbolism of the construction site.”
Since entering government in 2016, Etruria's annual GDP growth rate has averaged 4.5%, while unemployment has fallen to 3.2%, its lowest in thirty years. However, environmental standards has collapsed according to several charities and NGOs and financial regulations have been set back "almost two-decades under this pro-profit government" according to the Institute for Responsible Business.
Electoral reform was a prominent platform policy of the Tribune Movement during the 2016 election. The use of proportional representation at the federal and state levels was long condemned by parties to the right of Etrurian politics. In the 2016 election, Carcaterra described Etruria’s electoral system as the “plaything of the Poteri Oscuri, their means of perpetuating their governments of thieves, simpletons and Kesselbourg marionettes.”
In 2017, the Tribune Movement secured the backing of its coalition partners, the Farmers and Workers Union to proposal electoral reform as part of the constitutional referendum. The proposed changes only effected the Chamber of Representatives, restoring first-past-the-post for 420 seats, while PR was retained for remaining 260. The 420 seats under FPTP were abolished in 2001 and were simply restored to their original boundaries, notably these seats were found in regions highly supportive of both the Tribune Movement and the FWU. The 2017 referendum was a victory for the government and the new electoral system was set in place for the 2018 federal election, in which the Tribunes won a landslide, gaining supermajorities in both houses of the Senate of the Federation.
In early November 2020, the government announced plans for a second electoral reform bill, that would dramatically transform the State Council of the Federation and merge 200 PR seats into a single national constituency, with 60 seats under PR being earmarked for a return to FPTP. The upper house will see its numbers slashed from 580 to 60, with each state providing four elected representatives. The establishment of a singular national constituency for the 200 PR seats would be key to “fighting the regionalism being propagated by the liberal-left run states.”
The 2017 electoral reforms, though ending Etruria's long tradition of coalition governments has been widely condemned by parties, commentators and analysts as "fundamentally biased." The restoration of FPTP seats led to widespread accusations of gerrymandering, while the 2020 proposals have been described as the "death knell for Etrurian electoral politics."
Etrurian foreign policy under the Carcaterra government has been equally described as a “complete upheaval of worldview” to “sporadic, chaotic and damaging.” Between 2016 and 2018, the foreign policy of Etruria remained EC-focused, albeit to pulled back drastically, with membership being rejected by popular referendum. As the Tribune government began to turn to right-wing populism and nationalism in 2018, relations soured rapidly, leading to the EC-Etruria Crisis and the Pietromontecorvino Incident. However, relations slowly recovered following the Tribune landslide in the 2018 federal election and a series of crisis meetings between Carcaterra and EC president Alexis Walker. The collapse of Tsabara into civil war in late 2019 and early 2020, resulted in a further warming of ties, aided by the rise of right-wing governments in Estmere and Werania. Many commentators described this turn of events as a positive one, as senior EC diplomat, Joost van Rooyen wrote in 2020, “many in the Commission recognise that confrontation empowers the right-wing government in Etruria, it is a shared belief that it is better to have close ties with Etruria, than to drive it away.”
Since 2018, the Tribune government has advocated for a greater reliance on bilateralism over multilateralism, this in turn has led to a significant improvement in ties with Werania and Estmere, where the Tribune Movement enjoys close ties with the National Consolidation Party in the former and the Sotirian Democratic Union in the latter. Relations between Etruria and Gaullica also improved under President Jean Vallette, though not to the extent seen with his northern counterparts. Relations between Etruria and Caldia remain cold in wake of the Pietromontecorvino Incident and the downfall of Taoiseach Frank Casarnach, who succeeded Jimmy O’Reilly. Further issues include the flight of northern Vespasians to Caldia and the country’s open-door policy to Etrurian women seeking early terminations.
Under the Carcaterra government, relations with Soravia and Samorspi have seen a complete transformation from initial opposition and confrontation to a degree of warming, that has caused some concern among the Tribunes’ opponents and governments in the EC. Following the 2018 crisis with the EC, ties between Etruria and Soravia began to improve, while the Tribune chauvinism toward the Marolevic west all but vanishing. President Carcaterra in 2019 described Soravia as “perhaps Etruria’s closest peer in terms of how it seeks to live, traditionally, morally and independently.”
Carcaterra has also promoted closer bilateral ties with Senria, claiming that the Coian country is a more “suitable, dependable and honourable partner in the Southern Hemisphere.” This has included a series of meetings between the Carcaterra government and COMSED, the Senrian-led bloc in Coius. Carcaterra has called for a mutually beneficial Etrurian-COMSED free trade agreement designed to “compliment the strengths of our individual economies.”
Conversely, Etrurian foreign policy toward the other two major Coian powers, Xiaodong and Zorasan have turned markedly more confrontational and obstructionist. The Carcaterra government and the Tribune Movement have long promoted the Xiaodongese investment conspiracy theory, that every investment and economic deal the country conducts with Euclea, is a backdoor to orchestrate its economic downfall. Relations with Zorasan though cordial, soured with the Tsabaran Civil War, with the Carcaterra government siding with Estmere’s Reginald Wilton-Smyth in viewing Zorasan as the principal orchestrator. Carcaterra himself has accused Zorasan of purusing an “Irfanic Expansionist Agenda” and seeks to control Tsabara’s energy reserves to boost its own, he has also accused Zorasan of seeking to dominate the Aurean Straits to endanger Euclean trade. The Solarian Sea refugee crisis has also been blamed on Zorasan, with Etruria joining Werania in accusing Zorasan of weaponising refugees and migrants to destabilise Euclean societies. Carcaterra has also been a vocal critic of Zorasan's military modernisation and expansion, calling the country the "biggest military threat to Euclea."
Commentators have noted that since coming to power in wake of the EC referendum, the number of civil servants at the Foreign Ministry who have resigned or been forced out has increased to over 400. Many of these civil servants have been replaced with individuals, who have expressed Etrurian nationalist ideals or pro-Soravian statements on social media. Il Popolo wrote in 2020, “we are witnessing the state capture of the Foreign Ministry, a snail-pace purge is taking place, to shore up the Tribunes’ anti-democratic, anti-liberty agenda.”
In 1989, Carcaterra married Augustina Spadafora, a childhood friend. Together, they have one son, Giovanni Cesare who born in 1997. Augustina has maintained a low public profile since her husband became President and this is something found to be common among Etrurian first ladies. Augustina works as a senior pediatrician at the Solarian Hospital of Saint Ophelia in Povelia.
Carcaterra is an avid football supporter and is known to support Legio Tirreno, the leading team of Tyrrhenus. In 2019, Carcaterra was awarded an honorary unsigned team shirt from Legio, which is framed in the presidential residence. During the event, Carcaterra sparked controversy when he met with Sotiriano Gemelli, the head of the Legio X Ultra of the football team. Legio X has been accused of harassing political activists of opposition parties and people of minority groups, often in response to Tribune comments.
Carcaterra is a devout Solarian Catholic and a known votary to Saint Vitalis of Faulia, regularly citing his calls for steadfastness of faith in face of death as an inspiration, to be "steadfast in whatever cause you believe just and noble." Carcaterra is multilingual, like many Etrurians, however beyond his native Vespasian, Carinthian and Novalian, he is also fluent in Estmerish and Gaullican.
Between August 2016 and January 2018, the approval rating of the Carcaterra government never exceeded 50%, though on average it enjoyed a net approval of 12 points. The sudden change in rhetoric and policies as of 2018, saw its popularity increase, mostly in line with its movement toward the hard-right and the imposition of its populist policies and soft Etrurian nationalism. The government's approval rating increased unabated until July 2018, when the EC-Etruria Crisis and the Pietromontecorvino Incident resulted in the government's approval rating surging to a peak of 65%, a net approval of 35%. Since 2018, the approval rating of the government has not fallen below 50%, though its disapproval ratings have steadily increased and fluctuated between the low-40s and mid-40s.
In January 2020, the liberal newspaper Il Popolo explained that taking consecutively, the Carcaterra government is the most popular since the restoration of democracy in 1984. It is the only Etrurian government to hold a consistent majority rating in approval, even if this does not match electoral results. A March study by VoxEtruria and Demos sought to understand the discrepancy between its approval ratings in mid-2018 and its electoral result, of only 48% of the popular vote. According to the joint study, Etrurian voters approved of Carcaterra's handling of the diplomatic crisis with the EC, "standing up for Etruria", though they would not vote for the Tribune Movement because the "platform does not match their priorities." The study also wrote, "many in Etruria though opposing the policies and behaviour of the Carcaterra government, do recognise they have delivered 90% of their electoral promises, while also noting that unemployment is low, wages are growing and crime is down. And yet, they cannot come to vote for a "racist, homophobic, aggressive government", this is the discrepancy between approval and actual electoral results."
In August 2020, the pro-Tribune Movement newspaper Telegrafo Solariano in collaboration with VoxEtruria held a poll on post-1984 presidents. Carcaterra was voted as the "best leader Etruria has had since 1984" by 46% of respondents, with Miloš Vidović, the first post-1984 president coming second and Nicolò Grassi coming third.
Promotion of conspiracy theories
Much like the Tribune Movement, President Carcaterra is known for peddling conspiracy theories, many of which are used to justify a policy, support an established position or to condemn perceived enemies. Matteo Mazzini, a prominent research fellow at Faulia-San Girolamo University wrote, “the Tribune Movement’s peddling of conspiracy theories is institutionalised, it is integral to the party’s character. This is also the case for President Francesco Carcaterra and his most senior cabinet ministers, they are the most prolific peddlers of all.” The most often repeated theory is that of the Proteri Oscuri, that there is a hidden state within the Etrurian state dedicated to the destruction of Etrurian identity, history, and traditions.
While a majority of the conspiracy theories peddled by Carcaterra, his government and the Tribune Movement are inherently political in nature (i.e. the claim EC membership would make corruption endemic through judicial subordination to the EC legal system), some are economic and social in nature. Both Carcaterra and the party have peddled the Great Replacement theory, Global warming conspiracy theory, Xiaodongese investments conspiracy theory, the LGBT population control theory.
Relationship with the press
Francesco Carcaterra's relationship with the Etrurian press before becoming President was remarked as "standard for any member of the Senate." However, between 2012 and 2016, criticism and attacks on the left-leaning press were commonplace. Carcaterra's statements and that of party members and the party officially, regularly denounced the left-leaning press as "enemies of the people." During the EC membership referendum, Carcaterra and his fellow Tribunes attacked the press as being "on the EC's payroll."
After entering power in 2016, the Carcaterra government maintained a cordial relationship with the press until 2018, when it turned markedly hostile. The often compliant Telegrafo Solariano, the second most widely read newspaper in Etruria, has been accused of outright bias and producing propaganda. In an interview with the paper in January 2018, Carcaterra described the media as "the ultimate obstacle to actually having a cohesive and harmonious society." In the same interview, Carcaterra accused the media of "purposefully constructing conflicts for profit."
Traditionally, Etrurian politicians regularly write articles in opposing newspapers to spread their message to non-supportive voters, however as of January 2018, the Tribune Movement and government have prohibited members from doing so, by order of Carcaterra. In a speech to Tribune senators he said, "none of you can write in leftist newspapers, don't even try. They will twist your articles and put poisonous words in your mouths." It has been realised that Carcaterra's own antagonistic view of the press is often repeated or imitated by his ministers, and other Tribune Movement politicians.
In February 2018, Ivano Balić, President of the Senate of the Federation had the small cameras that televised proceedings in both chambers removed, claiming broadcasts were edited maliciously by broadcasters. The move was criticised as a setback for Etrurian democracy. It was later confirmed to have been done by order of President Carcaterra.
Carcaterra has privately and publicly mused about revoking the press credentials of journalists he views as critical about him and the Tribune Movement. Since entering government, the Carcaterra government has revoked the credentials of up to 12 journalists, mostly from left-leaning newspapers and magazines. Carcaterra has held over 100 formal news conferences personally since 2016, though with each presentation, the press invited have been increasingly supportive or compliant toward the government. In late 2017, the press corps' questions were required to be forwarded prior to a press conference, officially to enable the "President to produce the most detailed and concise answers", however, the move was criticised as a form of censorship, as many questions deemed "critical" were rejected or reworded by the Media Relations Unit of the Office of the President.
In mid-2019, the Carcaterra government sacked the entire executive board of ARE, Etruria's public broadcaster, under claims the public service was "failing in honouring its founding principles." The government then appointed right-wing media figures to head the broadcaster, who in turn laid off hundreds in production and management. By 2020, ARE is widely viewed as being politically compromised and having become a "mouthpiece" for the Carcaterra government. Virtually all of Carcaterra's televised interviews are with ARE journalists or talk-show hosts, who have been appointed since 2019.
Carcaterra and Federal Minister Minister of Culture and National Identity Matteo de Rossi, have both mused publicly and privately about using legal action against critical newspapers and broadcasters. While the Independent and Private Broadcaster License Law of 1984, has been subject to threats of repeal by the Carcaterra government, such a move would shut down privately owned channels and broadcasters across the country. In October 2020, ARE broadcasted Foro del Presidente, a two-hour long televised Q&A with President Carcaterra, hosted by Leonardo Di Marco. The televised event was comprised of audience members (ordinary voters and journalists) asking the President questions on various topics. The left-leaning press condemned the show as "two-hours of lavish praise and adulation", while the pro-Tribune press hailed it as a revolutionary development in Etruria media-government relations.
In late 2018, Carcaterra threatened to remove the federally provided security detail for renowned investigative journalist, Girolamo Silano after he wrote a scathing article about the Tribune Movement. Silano has required personal protection owing to his award winning investigation into the Fratelli Passero gang which led to their leader's arrest. The Fratelli Passero repeatedly threatened to kill Silano in revenge. Carcaterra in a social media video said, "this Silano receives protection free of charge from the government, I don't know about you, but tax payers who vote for the Tribune Movement might not want to pay this political hack, he's got money."
Many of Carcaterra’s comments and actions have been regarded as racially charged or outright racist. Carcaterra has denied being racist, stating he merely rejects political correctness, “I am no racist, I do not by into one race having this or that over another. I reject political correctness, which is the newspeak of a decaying liberal order.” Many commentators have stated that they believe Carcaterra is a cultural chauvinist rather than a racist. Many Tribune supporters claim his language reflect the rejection of political correctness, while others have expressed support and agreement in certain beliefs.
Carcaterra’s cultural nationalism is regularly expressed through his promotion of the Prima Civiltà theory, that Etruria as the successor to its renaissance states and the Solarian Empire means that is the greatest culture in the world, “without Etruria and its ancestral states, there would be no Euclean civilisation or culture.” This is usually presented in contrast to Coian cultures, of which Carcaterra said, “Euclean culture has produced the greatest events in human history and the progression of human life, Coian culture has not. All they can claim to have offered the world is fireworks, noodles and Irfan.”
Carcaterra has promoted the Great Replacement theory and regularly claims Coian and Asterian migration to Euclea, threatens the “birthplace of civilisation.” He and his government have portrayed Etruria as the “frontline against Euclea’s decline.” These beliefs have fed into the hardline anti-immigrant policies, Carcaterra caused controversy when he said, “if all Coius can grant us is more grape pickers, street vendors and vagrants, I would like to say no thank you, go somewhere else. Etruria doesn’t need more Coian surprlus.”
Allegations of incitment of violence
Through out Carcaterra’s leadership of the Tribune Movement and as President, he has been subjected to repeated allegations and accusations of inciting violence. Studies conducted since 2016, have shown an increase in hate crimes since the EC referendum and the Tribune victory in 2016. The violent crimes committed against political activists, journalists, and protesters by Etruria’s Ultras have been causally linked to the Tribune Movement and President Carcaterra according to trial testimonies.
During the 2018 election, Carcaterra, his ministers, and Tribune candidates urged or praised physical attacks against protesters and reporters. Carcaterra notably said, “they bash Etruria with their words, bash them with your fists, silence their poison.” Tullio Quagliariello, who served as Interior Minister (2016-2020) said, “our president and patriot in chief is calling for the end of Etruria-bashing, if they don’t stop, beat them up, that will teach them.” In wake of Operation Gladio and reports of abuse and torture by law enforcement of detained mafia suspects, Carcaterra said, “are we to weep for these people? The ones who shoot the kneecaps of hardworking Etrurians because they made the mistake of taking a loan from the Mafia? I don’t cry for them, I cheer them being beaten and slapped, they deserve worse.”
According to Liberty Watch, an Etrurian NGO dedicated to documenting Tribune attacks on institutions and civil liberties, has counted 186 criminal cases in which defendants have cited government rhetoric or policies. 10 such trials involved murder or attempted murder were revealed to have “moderately strong links” to government rhetoric or policies.
Comments on far-right
Carcaterra has on several occasions expressed positive or supportive views on the Etrurian far-right, though denying his own party is far-right. In 2016, Carcaterra referenced, Romolo Augusto Scuderi, the suspected war-criminal and leader of the Solarian Popular Party and the individual credited with preserving the far-right after the Solarian War, saying, “having waved away EC domination, I dare say we have made Scuderi proud.”
In 2019 he said, “the liberal-left can call themselves patriots but they’re not. Only those on the right of all degrees are patriots, to be a patriot is to be proud of your country. It is not patriotism to call out its weaknesses, failures and transgressions everyday as a mark of progressivism.”
When asked in 2018 whether he accepted his party and government was the most right-wing since the Greater Solarian Republic and the Solarian War, he rejected it saying, “we are called far-right all the time and it is done so as an insult, we are not far-right. We are a patriotic, Sotirian and social conservative party. Neo-functionalism has no place in the Tribune Movement.”
Comments on Solarian War
Carcaterra and his government have repeatedly denied historical war crimes allegedly committed by Etruria. He and his government have described the allegations as “anti-Etruria propaganda” and a “plot to tarnish the memory of our lost soldiers who died fighting for their country.” His comments have undermined relations with Amathia, Piraea and Galenia, who suffered considerably during Etrurianisation conducted during the Greater Solarian Republic and Solarian War.
In 2019, Carcaterra backtracked some statements in relation to Amathia and Piraea, admitting in an interview that “tragic events did take place, which no doubt find the guilty party to be the GRS [Greater Solarian Republic], but to say it was a systematic and orchestrated plan of annihilation is too far.”
The Carcaterra government’s National Dignity Law, which banned the reference of historical war crimes in academia and the rewriting of Etrurian textbooks to remove references and to even present the Solarian War as a defensive action have been connected to his commentary. As president, he and his government have regularly claimed the education system’s insistence on teaching students about the war crimes is proof of the “Poteri Oscuri plot to brainwash our younger generations into despising their own nation. It is globalism 101, you need to hate your own nation to embrace this concept of a nationless world.”
Furthermore, the Tribune government has denounced calls to have the bodies of convicted war criminals being removed from the Valley of Etrurian Martyrs of War, the colossal memorial built near Tyrrenhus as a “disgusting idea, that violates our Sotirian morals.”