Comunali in Vibo: the cocktail between politics and civility where clientelism and transformationism reign


By John

The deadline for submitting lists expires in a week: deadline Saturday 11 May at 12. Then the electoral campaign will officially open. Among the municipalities voting in Calabria, the only provincial capital is Vibo Valentia. In the Hipponian city, the race for the highest seat in the palace sees Luigi Razza in pole position Roberto Cosentino for the centre-right, Francesco Muzzopappa for the Centro area, Enzo Romeo for the centre-left.

In the field, therefore, there are parties and also civic movements. A cocktail between party and civic lists which will be divided into around 15-16 lists: at the moment six for Cosentino, five for Muzzopappa, four-five for Romeo. An army of almost 500 candidates in a municipality that risks soon falling below 30 thousand inhabitants and with around 28 thousand voters.

Inside coalitions: where transformationism and clientelism reign

As in every election, there are changes of colors and jumps from one pole to another by those who hold packages of votes capable of ensuring an important electoral consensus and capable of influencing the electoral campaign and the majority ex ante and ex post of government leaked from the vote. The camel troops move the army of candidates with the intention of draining votes on the one hand and splitting consensus on the other, trying to create divisions within families and/or political groups well rooted in the territory. In a city where ancient corporations reign, where Freemasonry plays a fundamental role, where organized crime has been broken by the maxi Rinascita Scott investigation, but not completely annihilated, coalitions are presented to voters where everything and the opposite reigns within of everything.

The centre-right

Roberto Cosentino will present himself to voters with six lists: Oltre (the list of the candidate for mayor), Forza Italia, Fratelli d'Italia, Forza Vibo, Vibo Unica and Indipendenza. In the coalition there are no fundamental pivots that are part of it at a national level, the League and We Moderates. The League essentially did not arrive in Vibo: no party symbol, while the city coordination chose to support the Centre's candidate, Muzzopappa. Same decision for Noi Moderati, led in Vibo by Maria Rosaria Nesci. Cosentino will also be supported by Vibo Unica and Indipendenza, civic movements and parties which were in opposition to the centre-right in the legislature that is about to end. The case of both lists is emblematic: Vibo Unica is the civic movement founded by Stefano Luciano in 2015 when he decided to support the centre-right coalition led by Elio Costa, while five years earlier Luciano himself had been elected opposition municipal councilor on the list Left for Vibo at high altitude Unleash Calabria. Luciano was one of the cornerstones of the center-right coalition of 2015 and was elected president of the city council. Then in 2019 he abandoned the center-right and joined the ranks of the center-left, running for mayor again with his civic creation Vibo Unica. After joining the ranks of the Democratic Party, Luciano also left the Dems during the legislature and moved to the Action party. Always against the mayor Maria Limardo, Luciano in recent months has been one of the main stakeholders of the center coalition which today supports Muzzopappa, only to then break with this axis and switch again to the centre-right. Not being able to use the symbol of Action (the party led by regional councilor De Nisi chose to remain at the center) he returned to using the symbol of Vibo Unica: with him some loyalists such as Claudia Gioia and Giuseppe Russo. No less striking is the case of the Independence party (the political formation led at a national level by former minister Gianno Alemanno) led in Vibo by former parliamentarian Franco Bevilacqua. In 2019, the latter built a list that was the antithesis of the centre-right and merged with the centre-left: the Concretezza list brought the former centre-right municipal councilor Pietro Comito to the city council. Today, however, the return to the right with the support of Cosentino.

The center

In the coalition led by Francesco Muzzopappa there are civic movements and parties. So here are the lists: Territorial Identity, Vibo al Centro (where inside there are the symbols of Italia Viva and Southern Italy), Insieme al Centro (where the symbols of the UDC, Noi Moderati and Legati al Territorie appear), Cuore Vibonese A Free City and, finally, the Action list with the symbol of the Calenda party. Also in this case movements and “jumps” from one coalition to another: in the Together with the Center list here is the symbol of Southern Italy, the movement led by the mayor of Castrolibero, Orlandino Greco. In Vibo the deus ex machina of this movement is Franco Arena: the latter was decisive in 2019 in the election of his daughter Azzurra with the Democratic Party list. And again, how can we not mention one of the most influential faces in city politics, the former regional councilor Vito Pitaro, formerly a city councilor and councillor. In 2019, Vito Pitaro created the Città Futura list, a movement capable of collecting almost 2500 votes and electing 5 councillors. Four years earlier, Pitaro had been one of the main stakeholders of the center-left with Antonio Lo Schiavo's candidacy for mayor. Then the shift to the right, the electoral agreement with Mangialavori and the election in 2021 as regional councilor with the Jole Santelli President list. Fundamental pivot of the Limardo council, last summer he made four councilors take a step back (Chiaravalloti, Francica, Russo and Tripodi) in conflict with the mayor and the rest of the executive. Now his aim is to get Muzzopappa elected mayor, or, a more plausible objective, to be the referee of the match by having his electoral weight determined in a possible run-off between Cosentino and Romeo. Finally, here is Action: Calenda's party in the city has chosen to remain at the center. Regional councilor Francesco De Nisi, candidate for the European elections, supports Muzzopappa's cause. However, two elements must be considered: Action at a regional level actually supports the Occhiuto executive, while in Corigliano Rossano (another important municipality voting) the other regional councilor of the party, Giuseppe Graziano, has chosen to embrace Pasqualina's cause Straface candidate of the centre-right.

The centre-left

The center-left presents itself to the vote with at least four lists: Democratic Party, Five Star Movement, Centro Studi Progetto Vibo, Progressives for Vibo. The candidate for mayor Enzo Romeo, former provincial president of the Democratic Party, has very solid Christian Democratic roots: in 1995 elected president of the Province of Vibo with the centre-left, in 2000 candidate in the regional elections with the centre-right which at the time elected Giuseppe Chiaravalloti president. In the list directly emanating from the candidate for mayor, Lorenza Scrugli, outgoing municipal councilor, should also appear: in 2015 she was elected in the centre-right in the Vibo Unica list, in 2019 she was elected in the centre-right in the Vibo Valentia da Vivere list. Now in this electoral round, after almost immediately being in this legislature in clear contrast with the positions of the majority on Social Policies, you have chosen to espouse the cause of the centre-left.