Elections in Italy

Enrico Letta: “Most people don't want to vote for the right”

Kai Doering23. September 2022
We are looking for European solutions for national problems.
Enrico Letta: We are looking for European solutions for national problems.
Italy will elect a new parliament on Sunday. Enrico Letta, the Partito Democratico's top candidate, about the dangers of the right, Russia's influence on the election and Olaf Scholz as a role model

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Sunday elections will be held in Italy. How do you feel right now?

I feel very optimistic. Our campaign started with a lot of difficulties and obstacles but now the trend is positive on many subjects. Moreover, the contradictions within the right become obvious more and more. They are divided in many issues. Last week for example they decided to support Victor Orbán in the European Parliament what effected a lot of negative reactions in Italy. In contrast our topics – environment, individual rights and social agenda – became much more popular during the last weeks. That is why I have a good feeling for the election day.

A lot of voters are not decided yet as it seems.

Exactly! That is also why we are in a positive mood. Many voters still do not know who to vote for. This is very unusual. A lot of them are still confused because of the unexpected collapse of the Draghi-government in summer. I am sure that most of them are not willing to give their vote to the right for they know that this would be a disaster for Italy. That is why we are working for our victory until the end.

What would be the crucial points of your government?

There are three main topics which are important for Italy: environment, individual rights and social agenda. We fully stand behind the environmental EU-program “Fit for 55”. For my campaign we hired an electric bus I travel around the whole of Italy. This is not yet usual in our country and sometimes difficult for technical reasons. With this I want to show that Italy still has a way to walk talking about e-mobility. Talking about individual rights we must admit that Italy is behind in many topics – in integrating the second generation of immigrants as well as giving equal rights to the LGBTQ+-community. Our idea for example is to pass a new citizenship-law to make it easier to become Italian. In many of these point our position is the total opposite of the position from the far right. That is why people can decide in which country the want to live in.

But do these topics really count if people in Italy are facing an energy crisis?

I think so. Italy is not Germany. In many topics we are ten years behind. We do not have the same-sex marriage for example. Especially young people ask for a more advanced society. Even if we are now in a period of an energy crisis other topics are still important and we are the only party to address them.

In the last elections the “Five Stars Movement” won. Now the “Fratelli d’Italia” are leading in the polls. Why are Italians that fond of new persons and parties?

For ten years now Italy is moving from one crisis to another. This causes fears within society. From my point of view this is the only reason why the extreme right became that strong. Especially because they are good in playing with fears and taking advantage out of it. Our discourse as a progressive party is based on solutions. The discourse of the right is based on fears. Russia’s war in Ukraine plays a very negative role, too, because it causes additional fears. Therefore the right is in such a good position this time. This is not an Italian specialty by the way. Look at France, look at Sweden: The progressives are on the defensive in many countries.

Do fake news play a role in this campaign?

Unfortunately, yes, especially on social media. We suspect that Russia has some influence here because they would be very happy if the right won.

What would it mean for Italy if Meloni an the “Fratelli” really win?

This would cause something I call the Italian Brexit. Italy would maybe not leave the European Union, but change it fundamentally. The Italian right wants to form a league of nations as Orbán in Hungary aims as well as Kaczyński in Poland. They put national interests over common European interests and blackmail other countries to get what they want. Our vision is the total opposite: We are looking for European solutions for national problems.

Monday you met German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. Did you also talk about this topic?

Yes, of course! Europe is not the problem but the solution. Olaf Scholz totally agrees on this.

Did you also talk about how he won the German elections last year?

Yes, and I am still impressed by this. He shared some experience with me for he and SPD showed that it is possible to win even if the signs are not this way.

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