This is Elly Schlein, the new leader of the PD (Labour) party in Italy. She is bringing a Corbyn moment to Italian politics, which you may like or not.
You wont have heard of her because she is only in the press when they want to rip her apart and make sly digs. What they don’t say is:
She’s absurdly young – born in 1985, she’s not even 40 which in Italian politics is almost unheard of.
Her parents are serious academics – her dad is an American political theorist and emeritus professor in political science, and her Mum is Italian and a law professor who just happens to be the niece of a famous antifascist and member of the Senates Justice Commision, a member of the magistrates governing body. Her brother is a mathematician and her sister a diplomat. Elly herself is also fiercely bright. Her political grounding is also very non-Italian – she started in 2008 as a volunteer on Obama’s presidential run, and again in 2012. She founded a student association in Bologna in 2011, and in 2013 was one of the founders of OccupyPD which was designed to voice the young’s discontent with the party.
She – like lots of people – voted for Renzi in 2013, got elected to European parliament and then in 2015 left the party because she – like lots of people – couldn’t stick Renzi any more.
In 2020 she got elected to be the vice president of Emilia Romagna as a member of the Ecology and Progress party, and in 2022 was elected to parliament as an independent.
In November of 22, she announced she was going to run as president of the PD, and rejoined the party. The members gave her 35% of the vote – the President of Emilia Romagna, Bonaccini getting 53% – The open vote gave her 54% against Bonaccini’s 46% and she was duly elected.
She stands for a reduction of working hours, the environment, womens’ rights and LGBTQ+ (she is openly bisexual), a reduction of income tax, increase in inheritance tax and taxes on property, and favourable for surrogacy and legalization of light drugs
MP’s are leaving the PD in droves. This weekend she went on the 5 Star march and met Conte (its leader)- causing further dissent.
The problem is she has not a gram of charisma, and therefore will not get far. The PD is seen and being reported as returning to its proto socialist roots and something to be afraid of. Renzi is whooping with delight – Berlusconi gone and the PD moving to the left will no doubt allow him to fill more of the centre ground with his ‘Renzi the supreme being’ party.
In the meantime Elly is being an earnest warrior for social justice when Meloni has just annulled the rights of 33 children in Padova to have two mothers and cancelled their double barrelled names. The press has decided the Schlein is dangerous and thinly veiled anti semitic jibes are all over the papers.
This makes the news and not the fact that the minister of Justice, not content with abrogating the law of abuse of office, limiting the powers of phone interceptions now has decided that fiscal evasion isn’t really a crime. All in a week. Instead the Lega and FI councils are having a race to see how many things can be given the name of Berlusconi now he’s dead. Milan Linate airport and (typically) the Bridge to Sicily are in the lead. But there will be roads, piazzas and council dumps all bearing his name before long – notwithstanding the law says that you cant do it for 10 years. But this government cares little for the law.