Opposition to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government is faltering as members of the Democratic Party (S&D) are now increasingly divided on issues like the war in Ukraine, while current Party Secretary Elly Schlein has resorted to ambiguous statements to avoid ruffling any more feathers.
Schlein, who beat Stefano Bonaccini, the regional governor of Emilia Romagna, for the position, finds it hard to rally the troops as the party’s well-known internal disagreements have not yet been resolved.
Her leadership skills have also been tested, as even the party leadership has attacked her several times in her first few months in the role.
“I say to the secretary that, if unitary management has to be, it should be discussed more and better than what has been done so far because a great party, which is something else from a movement, only in this way keeps itself out of factional logics”, said Bonaccini.
In the 2024 EU election, Schlein aspires to widen the centre-left camp as much as possible, seeking an alliance with the 5-Star Movement (5SM) of former PM Giuseppe Conte.
But on 17 June, during a demonstration of the 5SM against the Meloni government in Rome, attended by Schlein, some statements caused her bigger headaches.
We must “work together against precarity, for the minimum wage and (citizenship) income. You did well to mobilise, Giuseppe. We wanted to bring a sign of will, of uniting our forces on the issues the Movement has chosen to mobilise today”, said the PD secretary.
However, at the end of the event, the founder of the 5SM, comedian Beppe Grillo, made some statements interpreted by many as an invitation to violence. In addition to Grillo, Bulgarian-born actor and writer Moni Ovadia intervened, saying that the war in Ukraine stems from NATO expansion “and not from the invading bogeyman” and that the US wants to drag the EU into war.
The statements made Schlein uncomfortable, drawing fierce criticism for joining the 5SM event.
Vice-President of the European Parliament Pina Picierno (PD/S&D) was clear in calling it a mistake to take part in 5SM’s demonstration, while Bonaccini agreed with Schlein’s presence alongside Conte but noted that the party should be the “driving force” and “never put itself in tow”.
(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)
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