The senior Democratic leaders seem to be formulating a strategy for the upcoming European elections, whereby the secretary will lead the charge and subsequently be followed by a male wingman. This pattern appears to be unfolding within the Democratic Party and could potentially result in a male-dominated race. It’s clear that if the secretary decides to run, which is still under consideration, it could challenge other female candidates. The European lists are not fixed, but being second to the leader ensures additional consensus for candidates who may not have a secure voter base. This is particularly relevant for personalities from civil society and culture who the secretary expressed a desire to include on the lists.
Prominent names being considered include writer Chiara Valerio and human rights champion Cecilia Strada. However, the necessity for gender alternation would require a male candidate to follow Schlein. The Democratic representatives intending to run for office, who sent a letter of discontent to the secretary on January 18th, are paying the price. But it’s not just the Democratic candidates who are concerned. In the Center constituency, the strategy conceived by the Democrats could trigger an internal competition between top representatives like Nicola Zingaretti and Dario Nardella. Both, theoretically, would not need to adhere to the secretary’s path as they each have substantial support. But being second in line could add value as the candidate would be perceived as a party candidate alongside the secretary. It is argued that the third candidate could also benefit from this setup but, according to Democratic parliamentary sources, the third candidate tends to get overlooked by voters who generally express no more than two preferences.
Zingaretti’s name is also being mentioned in connection with a post-Gualtieri role. Rumors within the Democratic Party suggest a change of heart by the former president of the Lazio region who is gearing up for a Capitol race. However, Democratic Capitoline sources consider this prospect unlikely and potentially counterproductive, as Roberto Gualtieri’s mandate expires in two years. Starting to consider successors this early may not serve the party or its council well.
The dual party candidacy strategy could be employed in the South to boost the candidacy of Sandro Ruotolo, given that the other name on the list is Antonio Decaro who doesn’t need additional support. In the North East, the competition for second place could involve Stefano Bonaccini and possibly Virginio Merola, if the president of Emilia-Romagna chooses to participate. For the North West, besides Cecilia Strada, the name of Alessandro Zan, a Democratic Party MP and head of Rights, is being considered. The strategy to decide the wingman role is eagerly anticipated, especially by exponents close to Franceschini and those who support Bonaccini.
Popular Energy, an area rallying around the president of Emilia-Romagna, is in the initial stages of planning a double convention before the start of the electoral campaign, focusing on Europe and international politics. Bonaccini proposed this project to his area’s representatives during recent meetings in Rome. According to Democratic sources, the two events would build on the success of the conventions held last year in Cesena and Florence and aim to further strengthen the area’s regional roots. The two appointments are expected to take place no later than March, with one in the South, possibly in Naples, and the other in the North, potentially in Milan.