There is a clear certainty that Elly Schlein is going to run. However, the specifics such as when and how she will do so remains unknown, not only to us but also to the representatives of the Democratic Party. The party leaders are eagerly awaiting a signal to kick off the electoral campaign. Meanwhile, the uncertainties seem to be fueling the activism of the party’s currents. “This uncertainty is not beneficial to us”, expresses a parliamentarian. The secretary, on the other hand, continues to stress that the project comes before us: there will be no definitive decision until the ‘platform’ is clearly defined which the party will use to present itself in the upcoming European elections. The party’s leader has started a six-stage tour that will cover all the electoral constituencies, focusing on a different campaign theme at each location.
The first stop was at Cassino, in the central district. This will be followed by stops in Sicily, the island district, where discussions will revolve around rights, migrants, anti-mafia, and prisons. The Southern constituency will focus on differentiated autonomy. In the North East, the talk will be about positive innovation and redistribution of opportunities, while in the North West, it will be about Europe and international politics. Then there’s a stop in Brussels, where discussions will focus on reforms. The dossier is currently managed by the secretariat coordinator Marta Bonafoni. Only after this thematic journey towards the European elections will information about the candidatures be released, starting with that of the secretary. Within the Democratic Party, there are those who propose the concept of a “variable geometry” candidacy of the party leader: Schlein, the argument goes, would not run as the leader in all constituencies but would delegate the responsibility and honor of the ‘pole’ to some powerful candidate.
This approach is seen as a necessary move to keep the party currents in good harmony.
This scenario, however, is deemed “not very credible” by sources from the majority, as well as leading exponents of the PD minority. They argue that Schlein is running to compete with Meloni and lead the Democratic Party. According to their logic, it would not be logical for him to run as the head of the list only in some constituencies. Francesco Boccia, the leader of the Democratic Party in the Senate, emphasizes that “Elly Schlein, in any case, is an added value for the Democratic Party: she is a secretary who is out in the streets, in the squares, in front of the factories, connecting with our people and wherever she goes, she is warmly received”.
These sentiments are echoed by the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, who has been ready for the European elections for weeks: “Among the reasons in favour” of Schlein’s candidacy, according to Nardella, “is that Schlein brings an added value of consensus to the party. Therefore, if his candidacy can help gather more votes for the Democratic Party, it may make sense to consider it.” It remains to be seen, therefore, when the secretary will start the race. And, at least in this context, one could argue that Giorgia Meloni is causing the deadlock in the Democratic Party.
Many among the dems are keenly observing the actions of the prime minister and her close associates. If Schlein’s challenge is aimed at the head of the executive, it will be crucial to determine if and when the FdI leader enters the fray. Schlein’s trip to Strasbourg can also be seen in light of her challenge to Meloni, where the Ilaria Salis case is currently being deliberated. “The government has handled this matter with a great deal of delay and in an entirely insufficient manner”, Schlein states: “Yesterday Nordio expressed his sadness and surprise, but Salis’ rights have been violated in front of the entire world and Nordio has done nothing about it”.
This is a new challenge directed at the prime minister who, in fact, responds directly: “I am not sure what Schlein means about the government’s ‘serious delay’. If she knows better, she will certainly know what to do.” This statement reignites an earlier confrontation seen in the Chamber, when Schlein reminded the prime minister that the Democratic Party is no longer in power: “Giorgia Meloni criticizes us from Japan. It must be the time difference, because she said that if we know better, we can handle it ourselves, forgetting that she is the one in Government.”