Man awaits word on Italy’s seat

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – After months of campaigning, it’s now wait-and-see for a Wethersfield man seeking a seat in Italy’s Parliament.

This year, for the first time, Italians living in other countries had the chance to vote by mail in Italy’s parliamentary elections. It was also their first chance to select six senators and 12 members of the Chamber of Deputies to represent them in Parliament.

Quintino Cianfaglione, a construction company owner from Wethersfield, is one of at least 38 candidates for one Senate seat and two seats in the Chamber of Deputies in a district that includes North and Central America.

“I’m very optimistic because I know the work we did and the response of my people,” Cianfaglione said Saturday from his headquarters in Hartford. “I think we did a very good job, but we won’t know until they open the ballots.”

He’s traveled extensively, most recently around the Northeast and to Florida. He has relied on hundreds of volunteers to get out the word in their communities.

Other candidates in the district include Angela Della Costanza Turner, daughter-in-law of U.S. media magnate Ted Turner. There are three other districts elsewhere in the world.

Cianfaglione planned to fly to Italy Sunday night. Residents who live there will vote Sunday and Monday, and the overseas ballots will be counted starting at 3 p.m. Monday.

Italians abroad had until Thursday to cast their ballots. Italy’s Foreign Ministry said 1.1 million, or 42 percent of those eligible, had voted. The tally won’t be announced until after voting ends in Italy, but the overseas voters could make a difference in a tight race between Premier Silvio Berlusconi and challenger Romano Prodi.

Figuring out who wins could be complicated. Cianfaglione’s campaign workers say it may be Wednesday before they know the results.

He is not running with either of the main candidates, but on a slate backed by Mirko Tremaglia, the minister for Italians in the World. Tremaglia has lobbied for decades to get representation for Italians living overseas.

If Cianfaglione wins, he must spend 30 percent of his time in the Italian parliament and 30 percent in a regional office in the U.S. His priorities include making it easier for citizens to receive pensions from Italy and promoting the Italian language and culture.

Regardless of whether he wins, he said the election will be a victory for Italians who will now have representation.

“This was an historical moment for all the Italians living abroad,” he said. “We got a good, great result all over the world.”

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