Basilicata votes slowly and with some controversy


By John

At the end of the first day of voting to elect the president of the regional council and 20 councilors in Basilicata the prospect of a turnout that will struggle to reach 50 percent – even if voting takes place until Monday, from 7am to 3pm – is starting to become concrete. At 7pm on Sunday, 27.56 percent of the approximately 568 thousand eligible Lucanians went to vote: in the 2019 regional elections – when however voting only took place on Sunday – at the same time the percentage of voters was already at 39.24 percent hundred. In the province of Potenza, the percentage was 26.88 percent (39.24 percent in 2019), in that of Matera it was 29.11 (it had been 40.82 five years ago). Even Potenza and Matera did not do better: the regional capital reached 38.72 percent (in 2019 the percentage was 53.89); in the city of Sassi it was 30.79 against 44.39 percent five years ago. Moreover, it was possible to notice that the turnout in the 682 sections set up in the 131 Lucanian municipalities was not particularly high even just by visiting the schools that host them and their surroundings: no crowds and few cars parked out of place.

The low turnout – at least so far – makes the confrontation between the centre-right and centre-left even more contested. The side he supports Vito Bardi, re-nominated by the centre-right “extended” to the parties of Calenda and Renzi, he is counting on the work done by the candidates gathered around the seven symbols that appear on the ballot paper delivered to the voters. Five symbols support the center-left presidential candidate, Piero Marrese, which mainly relies on the alliance between Pd and M5s. There is curiosity to understand how much consensus Eustachio Follia, Lucanian leader of the European political movement Volt, will gather. And therefore, between an electorate that did not crowd the 682 sections set up in the region and a prediction on the outcome of the vote still to be clarified, a curiosity and a controversial episode animated the first day of the elections.

The curiosity concerns a tray of breakfast sweets brought to a polling station in Lagonegro: it's a shame that the white cardboard package had the “holy card” of a candidate from the centre-right coalition attached. A last-ditch attempt to gather some votes? It's hard to believe but this curiosity then sparks controversy. «Basilicata Casa Comune» – list of the centre-left coalition – harshly attacked the candidate portrayed in the image, saying that «every ethical and legal boundary has been crossed». In recalling that «the law requires respecting the neutrality and integrity of voting places, guaranteeing that every citizen can freely express their choice without external influences», the list defined the arrival of the “branded” lunchbox «an attempt serious of influencing voters with gestures of courtesy” which are transformed – precisely because of the presence of the “holy card” – into “an illegal act”. “smile” shown at the polling station where the aspiring president of the Region voted. “Well done Piero Marrese, I would have also published the photo of Piero's main opponent, but has Bardi already voted?”.