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'We are the alternative': Italy's Democratic Party makes final appeal to voters

Elly Schlein.
Elly Schlein. Copyright Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Giorgia Orlandi
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The leader of Democratic Party made a last-ditch call to voters in the Italian capital ahead of EU elections.

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It wasn’t Elly Schlein’s last rally, like in the case of Italian PM Giorgia Meloni who closed the electoral campaign on Saturday, but the two events have something in common: both squares weren’t as full as planned.

Whether or not that’s an indication of voters’ interest in either Schlein's Democratic Party (PD)or the Meloni's Brother's Italy party (FDI) is yet to be seen.

But it’s clear that the two gatherings that took place in the Italian capital didn’t attract as much audience as expected.

The leader of the Democratic Party already appeared in Milan the previous day to address a much larger audience.

With a few days left before voters will be required to cast their votes, Schlein hopes to convince as many voters as possible and perhaps sway the undecided ones by holding rallies in Italy’s two main cities.

Local Democratic Party candidates took to the stage as well to discuss their ideas and why they have decided to side with the new leader.

Schlein’s motto was very much about the need to create a “social Europe,” one that should prioritize integration and the fight against inequalities as its core values.

Foreign policy and the party’s stance on the wars in Gaza and Ukraine took center stage in the leader’s speech.

Schlein mentioned the need to agree on a ceasefire in Gaza and backed the recognition of the Palestinian state.

She also said it’s time to end the war in Ukraine. As she has done on previous occasions, when speaking about national policies, the PD leader criticized Meloni’s work so far on several fronts, mainly focusing on cuts affecting the public sector.

On top of the need to save Italy’s national health system, Schlein said, making Europe 'more social' means investing in another priority, which is public education as a way to encourage social emancipation.

Many of Schlein’s supporters who attended Sunday’s rally agreed that the new leadership is creating renewed interest in the PD party.

As highlighted from the stage, they believe it’s the only alternative to the rise of right-wing parties.

“There is no other option,” a woman told Euronews, adding that Italy’s left should unite and support Schlein so that “we can all become stronger both in Italy and in Europe.

The elections will be crucial for Italian politics as well. They will put Schlein’s leadership to the test and reveal what Italians think of what Italy’s government under Meloni has been able to achieve.

In doing so, it will provide precious insight into the future relationship between the two female leaders heading Italy’s two main parties.

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