Elly Schlein, Pd secretary: this electoral round, albeit with many distinctions, is also a test for all political forces, starting with your party and the centre-left. However, the perimeter must be defined: what is that of your coalition? The alliance with the M5s is patchy, not yet stable and widespread, in some cases instead you manage to materialize the agreement with the third pole (for example in Ancona).
«The Democratic Party continues with the joint effort aimed at the oppositions who want to give substance to an alternative to the right, we build projects based on the specific needs of the communities in the territories, it is on the concrete proposals that we try to unite efforts with the progressive and alternative civic forces to the right, bringing them together around a project and a shared idea of the city. Even in the 2023 administrations, as in those of 2022, there are many municipalities in which the Pd and M5s run together on these bases and with solid and credible candidates”.
However, the feeling is that you want to affirm the centrality of the Democratic Party, even before the coalition. In this way the allies would almost be junior partners, the relationship with the same five stars is fluctuating. A strategy also in view of the European elections, for which you vote with proportional representation and therefore everyone runs for themselves?
“Throughout the primary campaign and even in these first months as secretary of the Democratic Party, I insisted on the need to find common ground on which to share battles that serve people such as the one on the minimum wage, on public health and on education, on the implementation of the Pnrr, to name a few. It would be irresponsible to continue making our differences prevail over common projects, it is what the people who support us expect to beat this right”.
In the ballots, the center-left is ahead in all situations, except one: just Brindisi. The gap is large, 11 points, the candidate of Pd-M5s has failed to reach agreements and appearances with other potential partners, starting with the Left-Greens. Is a comeback still possible? And insisting on what levers?
«The comeback is possible. Five years ago, in the first round, the centre-left candidate had the same points of disadvantage over that of the centre-right. The vote was reversed in the ballot, handing the victory to our coalition, we can also win on Sunday and Monday. In Brindisi, the stakes are high: we are in the field with Fusco against a center-right that aims to bury the European Green Deal and a Pd-M5s alliance that wants to make a big turn on the ecological transition. In its programme, the local right proposes a development model that looks to the past, which does not relaunch the economy and makes work more precarious, without a vision of safeguarding the environment and the health of the people of Brindisi».
Brindisi is a city in search of identity, poised between industry, wounds of the past, development opportunities not fully intercepted. The correct and best point of balance between environmental protection and investments should be found, without slipping into too many “no”s, as perhaps happened with the previous administration: renewables, hydrogen, the port, the future passes through here? In some ways, it can become a development model for the entire progressive area.
«Brindisi fifty years ago suffered, like other southern cities, a fate made up of forced industrialization. The territory underwent choices made elsewhere that conditioned the city from a social and environmental point of view. Brindisi in this historical phase has the opportunity to plan its future based on a model of sustainable development and compatible with the beauty of this land. The new investment axes of the Pnrr are precisely aimed at three intertwined objectives, also fundamental for Brindisi: ecological conversion, digital transformation and the fight against inequalities and social and territorial gaps, as well as gender. The approach is the right one to accompany new quality work and good business, rediscovering a balance with the broken planet. The alliance between Pd and M5s intended, through the figure of Roberto Fusco, to confirm the need not to interrupt a process of attraction towards industries operating in the renewable, hydrogen and circular economy sectors in general”.
The Pd-five-star alliance in Puglia was proposed in unsuspecting times and there is a marked tendency to broaden the boundaries of the coalition through agreements with the civic spirit of various backgrounds. Is it a model to which you look with interest, or do you consider it too peculiar and “regional”?
«Puglia has been a laboratory for the last twenty years. Vendola and Emiliano have been able to build a season of change and vision of the South from the left in a land where the center-right has a certain rooting in the political vote. To win and succeed you need to build broad coalitions and clear projects. In Puglia we are trying to widen the field, the Apulian Democratic Party is doing a great job to keep the left together, five stars and civic lists, in the first round here we won almost everywhere ».
Starting next year, a season full of key electoral appointments will begin in Puglia. At stake is also the fate of two prominent figures, Michele Emiliano and Antonio Decaro: are there already any ideas on the plate? Who will be the front runner at the Europeans, bearing in mind that in 2025 there will also be votes for the Regionals?
“Times are premature, we have not yet confronted each other, now we are all concentrated together on these administrative challenges”.
What is the identity of the Democratic Party that you are building and regenerating? The reformists are urging it, fearing an excessive shift to the left. And the world of workers, the suburbs, the middle class, students, even small businesses, seek answers from you.
«Whoever is on the left and fights for inequalities and fights for social and environmental justice cannot fail to be a reformist. The Democratic Party today tries to answer a new political question that distinguishes the idea of a progressive society much more than yesterday from the nationalist one that expresses the right of Giorgia Meloni, the same one they want to transfer to Brindisi. This is a city that is extremely sensitive to the issue of the climate emergency and pollution because it has experienced them on its own skin, I am convinced that Brindisi does not want to put itself back into the hands of those who – from this point of view – have already betrayed it”.
“His” Emilia Romagna is wounded, but ready to get back up. Is the collaboration between the government and the Region an encouraging sign? Is progressing well in terms of method and substance? And is the Democratic Party willing to lend a hand to the government?
«The Democratic Party has mobilized from the outset to give its contribution and to act, in the interest of the communities affected by the floods, in a unified manner and in a spirit of collaboration and national cohesion. Now let’s choose a reconstruction commissioner. The choice is up to the government and it takes responsibility for it, but it must be done quickly because those territories cannot wait. However, it is clear that these choices imply knowledge of the territory, and in Emilia Romagna there is a system that has already been tried and tested and has already demonstrated its effectiveness, one must respect it, partisan political interests cannot prevail».
You said you were “worried” about the implementation of the Pnrr: what exactly alarms you? There is an attempt to reorganize the governance of the Plan, also avoiding overlaps between projects and spending centres. In parallel, the process of differentiated autonomy runs for the Northern Regions that have requested it, and the Democratic Party seems a bit in midstream on this.
“They’ve been there for months on end, engaged in a three-way understanding discussion on governance, while they’re losing track of investment implementation and we’re losing money. We asked the government again to come and report on what changes they want to make on the Pnrr, they have been talking about it for almost a year and still no one knows which ones while time runs out and the administrators are left alone to implement substantial investments. On differentiated autonomy, the Pd expresses a very clear and compact position: the Calderoli bill betrays the old secessionist design of the League which wants to increase inequalities to the detriment of the South. They have bypassed the regions, and it is serious that not even the center-right presidents opposed, and the Parliament which is responsible for the definition of the Lep: we are talking about the fundamental rights of people to health, transport and school. It is an unamenable project and must be stopped. The problem is that I don’t hear equally clear words from the Brindisi right against the differentiated autonomy project, who knows why. But for this too we need to strongly support Fusco ».
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