Italian success in regional elections
By Valentina Corace
Italian Greens / I Verdi
Since 1994, Italian Greens have been in various Center-Left coalitions on the
regional and national levels, ranging from four to nine parties. Being part of
such coalitions gives the Greens a better ability to win seats in Italy's mixed
winner-take-all/proportional electoral system, which, combined with a dozen or
more parties running, makes it difficult for small parties to stand alone.
Given this, the recent Italian Regional Elections were a big success for the
Center-Left Coalition called UNIONE, composed of nine parties, including the
Greens (Federazione dei Verdi).
In addition to the Greens, UNIONE is composed of Democratici di Sinistra
(Democrats of the Left), Margherita (the Daisy), Comunisti Italiani (Italian
Communists), Union of European Democrats (UDEUR), Socialisti Democratici
Italiani (Italian Democrat Socialists), Rifondazione Comunista (Refounded
Communist Party), Italia dei Valori (Italy of the Values) and Repubblicani
Europei (European Republicans).
UNIONE won a majority in 12 out of the 14 regions in elections held in April,
receiving approximately two million more votes (about 8 percent) than the
Center-Right. In the previous Regional Elections in 2000, the Center-Right
Coalition, led by Italian President Silvio Berlusconi and called Casa delle
LibertÓ (House of Freedom), had won 8 out of 14 regions.
This year the Italian Greens, led by party president Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio,
were the only party in the coalition to increase its share of the vote in every
region. From 1.8 percent and 15 regional councillors in 2000 (and 2.5 percent
and two Members of European Parliament in the 2004 European Elections), the
Greens gained 2.8 percent and 21 regional councillors in 2005.
Due to this positive result, and successful formal negotiations between Pecoraro
Scanio and the Center-Left Coalition both before and after the election, Italian
Greens now have seven Regional Ministers: three for the Environment, two for
Public Works and Transport, one for Culture, Sport and Youth Policy and one for
The aim of the Italian Greens in this election was not only to strengthen their
position within UNIONE, where they are now the fourth strongest party, but also
to become stronger locally on party priorities like sustainable economy, ecology
and development; good quality food free of genetic modification; and civil
rights and gender equality. Reflecting their opposition to the Berlusconi-Bush
alliance on Iraq, Italian Greens emphasized respect for Article Eleven of the
Italian Constitution, which states: "Italy rejects war as an instrument of
aggression against the freedom of other peoples and as a means for the
settlement of international disputes. Italy agrees, on conditions of equality
with other States, to the limitations of sovereignty that may be necessary to a
world order ensuring peace and justice among the Nations. Italy promotes and
encourages international organisations having such ends."
On the regional level, the Greens made their mark by opposing construction of
the Messina Bridge in Calabria and Sicily and the placing of a nuclear waste
storage site in Basilicata.
UNIONE's victory bodes well for next year's Italian General Elections, where
Italian Greens and UNIONE hope to unseat the Berlusconi government. To win such
a definitive victory, it will be important to remain strongly anchored to
reality, work hard and respond to the daily needs of the Italian people:
employment, education, environment, pacifism and the health and pension system.
For more information, visit www.verdi.it.
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