Category Archives: Elections

ITALIAN POLITICAL ELECTIONS 2018, ALDE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS CANDIDATES: GET TO KNOW THEM/2

On 4 March, Italy will return to vote to elect  new Members of Parliament. Some ALDE individual members are candidates with the liberal-democratic list + Europa with Emma Bonino. In these interviews we present the second 4 of them. We asked three questions to all of them and one different, about some important topics for Italy and Europe.

How Italy votes. The new Italian voting system has two levels of elections. 37%  of Members of Parliament in both Chambers  are elected in a “Uninominale” (single name list) college: single parties or coalitions express one common name. One wins the seat, others lose. 61% of MPs – in both chambers – are elected in a “Plurinominale” (more names list) college: each single party proposes from 1 to 4 candidates. The higher the percentage of votes obtained, the higher will be the number of  elected candidates. There is also a minimum percentage to be obtained to elect candidates. The remaining  2% of seats are for Italian candidates who live abroad.

You can read here the first set of interviews


Candidates we present today

Claudia Daniela Basta. Born in San Donà di Piave (province of Venezia) in 1976, she is a University Reasearcher and teacher, and lives in The Hague (The Neteherlands). Liberal, Radical in the dutch party D66, ALDE Individual Member. She runs as a candidate for Deputee Chambers for  Europe Constituency.

Riccardo Lo Monaco, Born in Cagliari in 1976, liberal, radical, LGBT Activist, manager.  Co -Founder of Forza Europa movement, ALDE IM Member. He runs as candidate for the “Plurinominale” (More names list) for the Senate in Sardegna 01 and Veneto 01. In Sardegna Constituency runs against Mario Adinolfi leader of anti-LGBT Moviment Il Popolo della Famiglia (Family People)

Antonio Stango. Born in Naples in 1957, he is a political scientist, writer, and editor and, since 2016, former president of the Italian league for Human Rights and now president of  Italian Federation for Human Rights. He is in the board member of “Hands off Cain”, an Italian NGO with the mission of outlawing the death penalty globally. He is italian national coordinator of ALDE Individual Members and candidate for the Deputees Chamber for the “Plurinominale” (More name list) in Veneto 02.

 Andreina Serena Romano. Born in Potenza in 1985. University researcher, works in business strategy, and innovation for SMEs and for the public sector. She was a former Member of Italia dei Valori (Italy of Value, former ALDE Member party) and is an ALDE Individual Member. She is a candidate for the Deputees Chamber for the “Plurinominale” (More names list) in Basilicata, where she is running against Vito De Filippo, the former Undersecretary to School and Instruction of the Democratic Party.

You are running as a candidate with Più Europa/+Europa. What exactly does “More Europe” mean to you?

Claudia Basta.  More Europe points toward the direction that we radical liberals believe our country should orientate its development. Populism is rampant in Italy, and the narrative according to which the European Union is the source of Italy’s socio-economic stagnation has convinced many. More Europe’s intent is to contrast that narrative and let voters realize that less Europe means a definite collapse – more Europe, the hope of offering a better future to our citizens.

Riccardo Lo Monaco First of all, I think +Europa means taking everything good that European Union gives to all Member States. We need to look forward to United State of Europe. On the other hand, +Europa means more opportunities, more rights and, above all, more peace. Indeed, we can’t forget that we have been living in peace for more than 60 years. In the end, +Europa means Erasmus, which is a powerful way to built a unique identity

Antonio Stango Italy, which is among the six founding countries of the EU, has achieved a very high level of security and economic development, which in isolation would have been impossible. Moreover – and we must be proud of this – it was in Rome in 1950 that the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which all the States of the Council of Europe are obliged to comply, was signed. All the community mechanisms are a vital guarantee for us in the field of human rights as well as in the economy. Faced with the wave of incongruous accusations against Europe in recent years, due to a economic and social crisis, the message of “more Europe” shows us that we need to strengthen the federal structure and not “more duties, more nationalism, and less freedom of movement for people and goods”.

Andreina Serena Romano. +Europa means for Italy to believe in a federal project, united and aware of Europe. A concrete project of United States of Europe that could be a reason for growth for the country. Italy needs Europe, just as Europe needs Italy. We must not stand still and be moved by events. Italy must walk with other states facing all the challenges of the future. We must be aware of the possibilities and work constantly to make our economy flourish and shine with our productive, natural and social capacities. +Europa with Emma Bonino represents a possibility, a challenge and a reason to continue to hope for a more European Italy.0

What is, in your opinion, the biggest problem Italy faces at the moment and what will your contribution with +Europa be?

Claudia Basta. The biggest plague of and in Italy at present is what I regard as the grave cultural degradation that seems to affect large parts of the population. Were that not be the case, far-right parties like Lega, Fratelli d’Italia and CasaPound, and ‘clown parties’ like Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the Five Star Movement, would not have the consensus they clearly have. To be clear: the conservative right has its own history and legitimate political philosophical grounds, in Italy as in the rest of Europe, and I respect those grounds despite my liberalism. The point is the current far-right in Italy is a grotesque representation of that legacy. It is led by leaders who miss the cultural background and competencies required to set forward any credible political programme, sometimes even to express themselves in Italian correctly. Yet they form a consensus, flagging by so doing the mutual lack of critical thinking in far too many citizens – how can someone believe that Europe is our problem rather than our solution, or that immigrants are inherently a threat?

By promoting a stronger integration of Italy in Europe and vice versa, by stressing the importance of science, research & development, as the ‘DNA’ of our democracy, and by putting our women candidates Costanza Hermanin, Ersilia Vaudo, Roberta Talarico and Giulia Pastorella – all high-skilled professionals with a scientific background – at the forefront of our campaign, Più Europa aims at activating a cultural revolution. Politically conscious Italians abound, both in Italy and abroad – our challenge is involving them in our project.

Riccardo Lo Monaco First of all, we need to increase jobs. However, we can’t forget the huge public debt that overwhelms Italy. For this reason, on one hand we need a State that helps market competition and the private initiative. On the other hand, we need to cut the wastes that hit public costs. In this way we can invest on job.

Antonio Stango  The complexity of international relations, including the risks of terrorism and war, the epochal challenge of migration, the transnationality of organized crime and the need for new forms of industrial and commercial competitiveness in a globalized world. These oblige us to joint responses from one strong European Union, while it would be dangerous to rely on individual solutions by 27 states. The development of strategies and methods for dealing with social problems within each country can benefit from European cooperation and the sharing of best practices in different fields. The elected representatives of +Europa, in addition to the specific skills that each will bring, and in a pragmatically liberal democratic and non-ideological vision, will have to maintain the full European integration method in all areas of their parliamentary activity.

Andreina Serena Romano. Unfortunately, at the moment, I think that Italy is facing many problems in many sectors. There is a great job to do and many sacrifices to come. I could list many points in the program but I would like to focus on a couple. Growth and the labour market are two key points in the +Europa programme and two hot topics in my campaign. From these two points there are a thousand themes that can solve many of the problems that we face. Rethinking industry and companies with more modern, innovative approaches helps us to create different production and commercial models that can keep up with the times. The contribution of research is essential for us to thrive and to differentiate ourselves. Competition should not be a taboo but the foundation of our economy. Not only for companies but also for consumers. We need to facilitate freelancers and remove barriers from young people creating businesses. By loosening these knots, we can start to speak a common language to the rest of the world, which continues to move forward as we watch. Think of the world of start-ups and the many problems of small and micro companies that make up the largest percentage of our economic fabric: we must remove the obstacles to their growth.

 You are already an Individual Member of ALDE Party. Don’t you think that’s enough to push for changes in European level?  What was your motivation to run as a candidate?

Claudia Basta. Initially, I didn’t think I would run as a candidate. As member of ALDE and of the Dutch party D66, having lived in the Netherlands, I had enough to do and contribute to the European project already.

When Più Europa was born, back in November, what I did was simply to put myself at disposal of the respective European steering committee, led by our head-of-list for the lower chamber, Alessandro Fusacchia. I gave my availability to become a candidate, as many others, for helping the movement grow in Northern Europe more than for the true ambition to run, but Alessandro proposed me to be the first ‘Dutch’ candidate ever proposed by an Italian party in the Europe constituency, and I accepted with enthusiasm.

Riccardo Lo Monaco Italy does not have a political party that represents Europe and European ideas. This could be a risk for the European project. Unfortunately, many Italian leaders, even including Berlusconi, who says he supports United Europe, allies with the most xenophobic and nationalist political parties that have ever existed in Italy, such as Salvini and Meloni. I will always support human rights and civil liberties, such as LGBTI cause. These rights could be threatened by anti-European parties. Indeed, this is the reason why I decided to become a candidate. My goal is to defend the European project and all that means: rights, Erasmus, circulation and integration in order to create an unique identity within all Member States. In this way, Italy will be similar to other countries, such as France, Germany or Dutch, without being the Hungary with Orban.

Antonio Stango  Transnational lists would be a positive step towards an accentuated federal dimension of the European Union, just as it was important in 1979 to start electing the members of the European Parliament by universal suffrage. I am sure that we will have to achieve this goal too. I have chosen to run as a candidate because I believe that all the energies and ideas of those who do not intend to give in to populism, sovereignism or abstention – three deadly risks to democracy, civil rights and socio-economic wellbeing – must converge towards the hope of effectively liberal democratic and federalist politics.

Andreina Serena Romano. I believe that the time has come for a new, more European, more compact and policy younger. New communication methods and new methods of approach to the voter. I have been an individual member of ALDE for many years, I started my journey in LYMEC and this has helped me a lot. Dealing with the politics of other countries is a starting point to improve and make ours more open. This is why I have always supported transnational lists, which have had a setback. It’s a way to rely on different cultures and thoughts, to discover how other European countries operate and how we can improve our political activities. It is time for a new political wind of right ideals, of real commitment and of security and loyalty. That’s why I chose to run as a candidate and put my face in the front row for the European project.

Why, in your opinion, has a real liberal democratic culture in Italy struggled to emerge, while in the rest of Europe ALDE-affiliated parties have greater visibility?

Antonio Stango  Italian politics has for decades been dominated by the contrast between the two “church parties” – the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party with strong traditions of Catholicism and Marxism respectively. Meanwhile, the minor secular parties, like Liberal Democrats, no other possibility of maneuvering it but supporting it, with variable results. The only exception were the Italian Social Movement which referred to the political elements of Fascism and which was considered “outside the constitutional arch” – a term referred to the parties who contributed to wrote the Italian Constitutional Chart after WWII, the Radical Party, which between 1976 and 1987 participated in the elections with the his own name and that he posed as an alternative to both the logic and the “historical compromise” between Christian Democrats and Communists, pursuing his own non-ideological objectives and seeking convergence on those.

The end of the PCI, which was the largest communist party in the Western world, together with the French one) after the collapse of the Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet reference, the extinction of the DC and other parties in the final crisis of the “First Republic” left space for Berlusconi’s Forza Italia; that initially appeared as a “mass liberal party”, and changed face, programs and practices according to the polls and allies of the moment. The phase that starts now could allow us, precisely because of the urgent need to counteract the new risks, to strengthen the role of a liberal democratic alternative party and make it more evident and incisive.

Andreina Serena Romano. This is a good question, difficult and impactful. The liberal democratic parties in Europe are strong, often form the government and are often fundamental in European political management. I believe the main problem is our difficulty in changing history and adapting ourselves. We have a strong attachment to conservative and Catholic thought, despite being a secular country. But this is a knot that we will dissolve with difficulty, even if with +Europa we are finally launching one true liberal democratic party that can lead us towards modernity.

With Italian people abroad being able to vote in this election, do you think +Europa should appeal directly to Italian people in Britain with Brexit looming? How will this happen?

Claudia Basta. Più Europa’s candidates living in the UK, Davide Rubini (for the lower chamber) and Claudio Radaelli (for the Senate) are the brightest, most competent and most genuine ‘remainers’ that Italian voters are likely to meet in the course of this campaign. Respectively, a European Regulatory Affairs Manager and a European governance professor, they have explained to the many Italians who followed their campaign why they think Brexit is a political, economic, and  identitarian disaster for the people living in the UK – regardless of whether they’re native British or not. Davide and Claudio embody outstandingly our pro-European political programme and the level at which we would like to take the debate on the European Union. Through them, and through the entire team created by Alessandro Fusacchia and Alberto Alemanno, our head-of-list at the Senate, we really are deploying the best minds and the most enthusiastic Italians possible for making the European Union “exiters-proof”.

Riccardo Lo Monaco +Europa should appeal to all Italians within European territory, stimulating them to vote for “Europe”. Of course, Italians in Great Britain should feel more than everyone this European feeling. For this reason, since Brexit, they should vote +Europa. We just need to reach them saying that we are in this election!

Kevin Mc Namara and Emanuele Lombardini

Italian political elections 2018, ALDE Individual members candidates: get to know them/1

On 4 March, Italy will return to vote to elect  new Members of Parliament. Eight ALDE individual members are candidates with the liberal-democratic list + Europa with Emma Bonino. In these interviews we present the first 4 of them. We asked three questions to all of them and one different, about some important topics for Italy and Europe.

How Italy votes. The new Italian voting system has two levels of elections. 37%  of Members of Parliament in both Chambers  are elected in a “Uninominale” (single name list) college: single parties or coalitions express one common name. One wins the seat, others lose. 61% of MPs – in both chambers – are elected in a “Plurinominale” (more names list) college: each single party proposes from 1 to 4 candidates. The higher the percentage of votes obtained, the higher will be the number of  elected candidates. There is also a minimum percentage to be obtained to elect candidates. The remaining  2% of seats are for Italian candidates who live abroad.

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Candidates we present today:

YURI GUAIANA

Born in Cantù, province of Como in 1974, president of Certi Diritti Association, LGBT Activist. Member of Radicali Italiani, former president of ALDE Individual Members. Candidate for Deputees Chamber at  “Plurinominale” (More name list) in Lombardia 02.

SJLVIA MANZI

Born in Foggia in 1973, she lives in Turin. Tresaurer of Radicali Italiani, ALDE Individual Member. Leader candidate for Deputees Chamber at “Uninominale” (Single name list) in Turin 02 and at  “Plurinominale” (More name list) in Piemonte 1, Lazio 1, Campania 1, Campania 2

CARMELO PALMA

Born in Turin in 1969, journalist, editor in  chief of political study on line magazine “Strade”, ALDE Individual Member and member of Radicali Italiani. Candidate for Senate at  “Plurinominale” (More name list) in Piemonte 1, Piemonte 2, Lombardia 2, Lombardia 3, Lombardia 4.

DIANA SEVERATI

Born in Milan 1976, she lives in Rome where she works as trainer and consutant in crowfunding sector. Member of Radicali Italiani and ALDE Individual Member. Candidate for Senate at  “Plurinominale” (More name list) in Veneto 01, Veneto 02, Trentino Alto Adige 01, Friuli Venezia Giulia 01, Lazio 02, Lazio 03

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You are running as a candidate with Più Europa/+Europa. What exactly does “More Europe” mean to you?

Yuri Guaiana I’ve been a Radical for all my life and I subscribe to all their liberal views, since individual freedom is at the core of my political identity – but +Europa goes beyond the Radicals. It’s a political project which makes Europe a priority for Italy. In these times of rampant Euroscepticism, we are the only party who dare to say that we need more Europe and that this is in our interest. Europe gave Italy more economic stability and more civil rights. To tackle migration, we need common European borders. We want a federal Europe where responsibilities are clear and people, not only nation states, count.

Sjlvia Manzi +Europa, in Italy – and not only in Italy – is a need. We are living through a period that will be studied in the history books if we don’t reverse the course. Next generations will ask themselves how we allowed the return of nationalism and populism. This is the reason why, even in a country with strong European tradition like Italy, we must reaffirm that the solution to our problems is not less Europe, but more rights, more democracy, more freedom and, therefore, more Europe.

Carmelo Palma. First, it means reversing the rhetoric of victimhood that many have towards the EU and reversing the decline of fiscal responsibility and financial stability in Italy as Europe has become the scapegoat for problems that have been caused in Rome.

The public debt, which has dug a chasm beneath the feet of future generations, has been the product of national political choices. The imbalances of our social security system arise from a parasitic use of the public budget as a means of “remuneration”. In Italy, the exchange vote was not legal, but taxpayers are paying the price of this sale.

The EU is the life boat keeping Italy afloat. Outside the Eurozone and without ECB support, we would not be able to refinance its public debt. +Europa means for us +Italy. Without the common market and without the four freedoms – the free movement of goods, capital, services and people – the Italian economy, with its export-oriented manufacturing vocation, would simply die.

Diana Severati Europe has guaranteed us peace, a free market, freedom of movement and opportunity for young people, such as Erasmus. We are saying yes to this Europe we have but More Europe means to me more liberty, more rights, more democracy, more growth, more sustainability,  more union rights, more knowledge, more equity, and more jobs.

What is, in your opinion, the biggest problem Italy faces at the moment and what will your contribution with +Europa be?

Yuri Guaiana Italy faces a huge populist threat which can harm not only Italy but the EU itself. To fight it, we need to change many things starting from the relationship between the State and us citizens. For far to many years we have increased our public debt jeopardizing the future of young Italians. The disregard for them is shocking and that’s why populism and euro skepticism is high among the youngsters. We need to freeze public expenditures to contain the public debt and start reducing taxis, especially for free lancers who are the most vexed and the youngest workers. We need to do away with all the red tape that makes it harder to interact with the public administrator. We need to support more scientific  research and technological development. In a nutshell, we need to create more opportunity, specially for young people.

Sjlvia Manzi Italy’s big problems are still those linked to the blocks of party power. We must not delude ourselves: even new movements, that define themselves as ’different’ have perfectly fitted to the ‘parties system’ and have become the new bishops of it. This is why those of us that become +Europa MPs will have as priority the respect for the rules, legality, and the rule of law.

Carmelo Palma The biggest problem is restoring a honesty to politics and creating a politics that recognizes and faces problems. If one thinks of treating a country with a lot of debt with even more debt is a good outcome, then it shows that our political culture is very debased and out of touch.

What we risk is a phenomenon of collective alienation, like the one that brought British voters to vote for Brexit, which will not put an extra pound in the pockets of families in the United Kingdom and risks taking it away in the medium and long term, much more than what they thought was extracted from them by Brussels.

I give another example: we live in a country that in 2017 had a negative demographic balance – the relationship between births and deaths – of 180,000 individuals, the worst after that of the First World War, with the worst fertility rate in Europe of 1.2 children per woman of childbearing age. Yet we continue to consider immigration a problem when it is the only possible and immediate solution to the deterioration of the demographic structure of the population.

Diana Severati I think that the biggest problem Italy faces at the moment is public debt. Public debt is a real threat causing financial instability and market trust crisis.

+Europa proposes to freeze the nominal value of public debt for the next five years by cutting subsidies dangerous to the environment, main house subsidies and subsidies to businesses  (especially in the agricolture and manufacture sectors). There are also the spending review lists by Carlo Cottarelli and Roberto Pierotti, ready to be implemented.

Making Italy free from public debt would allow the country to better face the European integration process.

You are already an Individual Member of ALDE Party. Don’t you think that’s enough to push for changes in European level?  What was your motivation to run as a candidate?

Yuri Guaiana I am running as +Europa candidate precisely because I’m an individual member of ALDE Party, not despite it. Doing politics cannot be confined to one affiliation. I’m doing politics as a Human Rights activist, as an Individual Member of ALDE Party and as a candidate with +Europa. ALDE Party has been running a very effective campaign called #ValuesFirst. That’s for me what politics is about: study and work hard to enhance my liberal values and translate them into policies and laws. This campaign is another way to engage with people on crucial matters and fundamental values that today, more than ever, are at stake. If I am elected, I will help translate them into policies and laws within the institutions, but If I don’t I’ll keep doing politics and translate my values into polices and laws from outside the institutions. As Radicals, we are pretty good at that, as we showed with the laws on divorce, abortion and, more recently, on civil unions and living wills.

Sjlvia Manzi. It should certainly more courage. Apart from transnational lists idea, it is overall the election mode for MEPs that should be reformed in a way to allow a real closeness between elected and voters. This is what Europe needs more. I choose to run as a candidate to try to realize the Liberal European Federalist dream, chasing Altiero Spinelli and Marco Pannella (Italian radical leader ndr) tradition.

Carmelo Palma. I am member of a pro-European party, but I think the most promising prospect for the political consolidation of the Union is that of building pan-European parties. Without parties that think of themselves as Europeans, it will be difficult to imagine a European policy that is not a sum or an average of national policies. If we look at the great European political families, including ours, there are not only evident differences between the different national parties that compose them, but there is a substantial impossibility of thinking of the European as a truly unified political dimension. It is illusory to think of an EU that exceeds the states that compose it. But it is also illusory to think that the only level of political organization and representation is that of the state and that it is possible together to make a European policy. What led me to nominate myself? The awareness that, as Mitterand said, nationalism is war.

Diana Severati Individual Members are not a party themselves but their role is to activate the dialogue with existing member parties, trying also to influence them.

National parties, at the moment, are still needed and they should put United States of Europe on their agenda.

Being an ALDE IM, running as a candidate is an added value. Indeed, this is the reason why I decided to become a candidate. My goal is to defend the European project and all that means: rights, Erasmus, circulation and integration in order to create an unique identity within all Member States. In this way, Italy will be similar to other countries, such as France, Germany or Dutch, without being the Hungary with Orban.

Why, in your opinion, has a real liberal democratic culture in Italy struggled to emerge, while in the rest of Europe ALDE-affiliated parties have greater visibility?

Sjlvia Manzi Because varied and numerous liberal movements in Italy do not have the courage to unite  – preferring to claim a more past without having competence and humility to look to the future. On the other hand, there remain some seemingly insurmountable differences, among ‘so called’ right wing liberals and ‘so called’ left wing liberals.

It’s time to overcome these differences: liberals and democrats, in my opinion, should be as liberal in economical topics as they are individual freedom strenuous defenders.

Carmelo Palma. Liberal Democratic parties in Italy have never emerged in the last century from a strongly minoritarian dimension. While, for many decades, they played a decisive role in the balance of government and today they are mostly extra-institutional forces, lacking sufficient electoral consistency to win seats and metamorphose into politically accredited interlocutors. I hope that +Europa can reverse this process. I do not delude myself that we can win the election, but I think we can bring back a force that is openly liberal democratic within institutions and at the heart of political discussion.

With Italian people abroad being able to vote in this election, do you think +Europa should appeal directly to Italian people in Britain with Brexit looming? How will this happen?

Yuri Guaiana +Europa does appeal to Italians living overseas. We have great candidates in all the overseas constituencies and the European one is obviously the most important. Many Italians left Italy – for the UK, but also for Spain and Germany – because there were no chances here for them. I’m talking about chances to find a job or, if they are LGBT, to marry the person they love, for instance. They know better than any other what the problems are in Italy and I’m confident they will support us. I don’t think Italians in the UK are any different to Italians in Spain, Germany or anywhere else, but they certainly know very well the problems that Brexit causes to the UK and to European citizens in the UK. I’m confident they will support our pro-European message

Diana Severati +Europa is directly appealing to Italian people living in the UK. We have candidates for Europe, Americas and Asia. For people living in London, a fundraising dinner with Benedetto Della Vedova will take place on the 19th of February.

Kevin Mc Namara and Emanuele Lombardini

 

Video interview with italian undersecretary at the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova

In this video interview made by our blog coordinator Emanuele Lombardini, the Italian undersecretary at the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova, also one of the founders of the liberal democratic list + Europa, talks about the need to bring back Europe at the center of the Italian political debate and of the  role of the EU for a real Italian growth

Interview was made during an electoral event organized in Terni, middle of Italy, by + Europa.  Italian language, english subtitles.

+EUROPA, NO MORE SIGNATURES TO COLLECT: A GREAT VICTORY FOR LIBERALISM AND DEMOCRACY

In this contribution, our blog coordinator Emanuele Lombardini, talks about some important news regarding +Europa, the new liberal democratic and pro-European Italian movement: it will be allowed to compete in the next political elections thanks to a gesture of democracy made by a very different party.

Liberalism in Italy is still alive. Not that it had ever died, for heaven’s sake, but certainly the long absence from Parliament of a true party that expresses liberal democratic and pro-European values ​​has, over the years, contributed a lot to lowering the awareness among Italian people of the importance of the EU for national growth, giving space to populists and neo-fascist drifts.

In a press conference, former European Commissioner Emma Bonino, and one of the leaders of +Europa, announced the new pro-European, federalist and liberal democratic Italian movement will not anymore have to collect signatures and will be officially allowed to compete in the next election race.  The news has enormous importance for European and Italian Liberalism because Italian voters now have the chance to choose a really liberal democratic proposal, the only real opposition to the racist and populist drift that is slipping country into chaos.

This was made possible thanks to Bruno Tabacci, a politician whose roots are very far from Emma Bonino’s.  Tabacci is founder and leader of Centro Democratico, a small Catholic-inspired party born of one of the many splits of the ancient Democrazia Cristiana. During the same press conference Tabacci announced that Centro Democratico will  join +Europa. Tabacci’s party is already represented in the Italian Parliament after the 2013 elections (it gained a seat as part of “Italia Bene commune” coalition), and this fact gives +Europa the right to compete in the next electoral round. According to Italian law, all the parties present in the current parliament are automatically allowed to compete in the next one, whether they present themselves alone or together with a group of parties under a common symbol and name.

Centro Democratico and Tabacci therefore become the fourth member of + Europa, alongside Radicali Italiani, Forza Europa and political association Movimenta.

Bruno Tabacci’s decision has great importance because it recognises two important aspects: firstly that Italy absolutely needs a really liberal democratic and europeist party (Partito Liberale Italiano choose to join the centre right side, together with populists and nationalists) and secondly that it is important that each party has the same chances to compete. Tabacci said: “I want my gesture to be considered a contribution to democracy. I decided to make the symbol of my party available for +Europa to recover a dimension of freedom that I consider fundamental. If there had not been Emma Bonino’s list we would all have been poorer”. This decision was really a great message of democracy: even if Radicali and CD share some challenges and topics, they are very far apart in some other areas. It must be said that in the 2014 European elections Centro Democratico appeared alongside  liberal democratic movements in Italy: the white and orange CD symbol was within the one of “Scelta Europea con Guy Verhofstadt” and Tabacci was also one of the unlucky candidates on the same list. Tabacci himself took part in the last pro-European meeting that was held in Rome and of which Liberal Words wrote: “It’s time to take a step towards democracy. This is why I was there, at a pro-European gathering in Rome – he said – Our different points of view in some topics are not a problem”.

Tabacci is the only politician who took concrete action to save the chance to give Italian voters the chance to choose a pro-European proposal.  Other politicians, both in centre-left and in the centre-right side, only expressed words of appreciation for Emma Bonino, but none of them gave any real help to reduce or avoid the collection of signatures. It was only thanks to an amendment within the budget law, after a letter written by  Emma Bonino, Forza Europa leader Benedetto Della Vedova and Radicali Italiani secretary Riccardo Magi to premier Paolo Gentiloni, that +Europa obtained permission to reduce the required number of signatures to be collected from 50.000 to 25.000. So now, no more signatures are needed. But both Radicali Italiani and Forza will remain committed together to fight the new electoral law, a fight for democracy: other lists in fact do still have the trouble of collecting signatures.

European liberalism can therefore hope to have its representatives in the Italian government, which is certainly a big step forward compared to the past. But it’s only now that the real battle begins.  Many people in Italy believe that + Europe may be the real surprise of the upcoming elections and that it can also attract the votes of some disgruntled people who in the past had supported the Democratic Party, especially if +Europa presents itself alone, without allies.

Emma Bonino is a widely respected politician and her battles have reached cross-party to create consensus among the various political affiliations. This is driving + Europa, that now seems much closer than before to reach 3% of voters, the minimum in order to elect their representatives in Parliament if they choose to go alone (while within a coalition it is sufficient to reach 1%) and that is why now the Democratic Party, until now very closed to discuss about an alliance,  reopened the dialogue in the search of a political agreement. The race to bring Europe back to the centre of Italian political debate has begun!

Emanuele Lombardini

Your Vote, Your Voice

Imagine next Sunday there are national elections in your country. What would you do? Skip  the whole process? What if you disagreed with the results? Would you blame yourself?

Thinking of those whose choices  will affect our lives and future, the desire to become a part of the process, is suddenly more like an obligation and the right decision to make. Many of us live in countries where the winning party is not always our preferred party, but the fact that we have our right is something we have to defend and use every time it is given to us.

Beyond our national preferences, we all belong to a bigger and liberal family, ALDE Party. As Individual Members, we were given the right, to vote and elect 3 Congress Delegates and one Council Delegate. This right we must cherish and keep using to our advantage.

Those four Delegates will represent us to the ALDE Party Congress 2017 in Amsterdam. Their duty is to submit Resolutions and Amendments on behalf of the Individual Members. They will work together with the members of the Steering Committee and are expected to closely coordinate Resolutions, Amendments and voting decisions.

All Individual Members must contribute and become a part of this exciting process, because the time for our voice to be heard has come. It’s our proposals they will have to defend. Belonging in the European Union we all face the same problems and in this Congress, we must step forward and raise our hand by suggesting solutions.

That’s why it’s important to participate and vote. Because every time we fail and miss or skip an election, someone else wins and even if our lives do not depend on this, it is still important to use wisely what is democratically given to us.

This Monday at 14:00 CET, you will receive an email with a ‘click here to vote’ button; so let’s just click the button and have a voice in the upcoming Congress.


Our 14 Candidates had the chance to campaign and share their views regarding different subjects but when it comes to the fast-growing number of the Individual Members how do they think ALDE IM will change in years to come? Here are their answers with candidates in alphabetical order:

  • Official Candidates ALDE Party Congress Delegates:

Yohan Byrde: I believe that  ALDE IMs and will be the motor block of bringing citizens closer again with Europe and only with our progressive liberal and democratic values we can unite Europe and it’s citizens and affect change that will benefit all of Europe in two years. We will be an ALDE IM that will bridge the gaps and be a participatory society and be the change Europe needs. 

Despoina Limniotaki: I see the Individual Members growing into a dynamic community of liberal people who support a bottom-up approach to solving problems and act as EU’s best mediators.

Luis Menezes: 2019 will be a very important year for a better and stronger EU, but that depends on the results ALDE achieve in the EP election. IMs are fundamental to achieve this objective and should have by then a stronger voice in ALDE’s strategy. For that we need to consolidate in the countries that already have MEPs but we need to urgently grow and support IMs on the countries that don’t have liberal MEPs or even liberal parties. We are only as strong as our weakest link.

Francesca Mercanti: I see Alde IMs as the first transnational and European party at the European Parliament with its own MEPs, elected in a transnational list after a hard and exciting electoral campaign. We have to work united and cooperate to create a liberal and open society against the obscure strength of populism.

Finn Nielsen: Vires in numeris – there is strength in numbers. In the future IMs will have increased influence in ALDE and in more European countries through more members. IMs will represent liberal and democratic values in countries that as yet have no national ALDE party. 

Amélie Pans: Within two years, the IMs should be ready to meet the challenge of the 2019 elections. The idea is to create, in collaboration with each country coordinator, a task force whith the goal of increasing the number of IMs to support the candidates on the field with specific actions. This will be a great opportunity to show our added value to the ALDE Party.

Guillermo Passas Varo: In two years, Individual Members will have a great reputation and influence inside the ALDE Party. Our resolutions will be approved, we will have our own criterion, probably a Vice-President… We will show that we are the avant-garde of European liberals.

Katerina Polyzou: European parties like ALDE, are the future. If we want a strong Union, then we should move past national borders and parties. Individual Members will play a vital role in this process… They will be the core of what can be the stepping stone for a better Europe

Diana Severati: I see individual members stronger and counting and with a recognized political role inside of the ALDE Party, actively contributing to shape our federal and liberal Europe.

Sven Strunk: In two years ALDE IMs will be the bridge between EU citizens and EPM. A leading example how citizens can participate in EU politics. 20 % more Europeans will know ‘ALDE’ and ‘IM’.

Wolf A. Wiegand: I see us Individual Members as the real driving force within the ALDE Party. In two years time the election to the European Parliament will take place. We shall than be a very active part of liberal campaigns in our home countries.

  • Official Candidates ALDE Party Council Delegates:

Sébastien Martin: As to our structure: I want a well-defined, fully integrated structure running in perfect sync from local groups up to the Steering Committee, with a solid presence in each and every Member State. How? By increasing the supervision and guidance of the SC on national and local groups, by redoubling the recruiting efforts at a local level (e.g., by brokering agreements with local liberal parties), and by granting financial autonomy at the regional levels. As to our role within the Party: I want to make the IMs an organization within the organization, a true force within the party by leveraging on the legitimacy given by direct democratic participation to directly influence the party’s agenda and priorities. How? By creating new instruments allowing every IM to participate in the definitions of our views and objectives (referenda), by creating working links with ALDE’s top leadership and elected representatives (Civil Council and working groups), and by ensuring the Party’s adherence to high ethical standards (Council of Ethics).

Chris Pyak: Two years from now the Individual Members will cooperate across Europe. We will have established a structure that allows each member to contribute ideas. The Individual Members will be able to formulate resolutions together – and most importantly: We will gain more influence on policy by becoming excellent campaigners across Europe. I work for a future where Liberals across Europe come to each other’s aid in elections on every level.