European elections, Messina's “moves” towards Strasbourg


By John

European elections attract citizens little (less popular than local elections, less fascinating than political ones), but they have a considerable weight within parties and coalitions. Where the European polls often serve to measure oneself, as a sort of great test in view of other and more weighty strategic objectives. This is why it becomes useful to try to understand in which health conditions the various political areas of the city arrive at this appointment, which is now just under a month away.

The “count” in the center-right

Brothers of Italy, Lega and Forza Italia field three heavyweights: the regional councilor Elvira Amata, the senator Nino Germanà and the Ars parliamentarian Bernardette Grasso. But the three points of the centre-right trident arrive at the electoral appointment with different steps. The healthiest party seems to be Salvini's, at least according to the numbers: in the last two years, in fact, the number of city councilors has doubled (with a significant “move” from the Deluchian galaxy), just as the groups have doubled (now there are both Prima l'Italia and Lega Salvini). And Germanà's intention is declared, after the brief and, in hindsight, strategic “escape” right alongside Cateno De Luca for the 2022 local elections, to take over the leadership of the coalition. An objective in which the president of the ARS Health commission, Pippo Laccoto, and the mayor of Furci, Matteo Francilia, find themselves (there is also another candidate from Messina, Francesca Reitano from Acquedolce). It is with this goal in the background – and with the label of Ponte's party – that the League is playing a local match in which, instead, Forza Italia aims to reverse a less than exciting trend.

Bernardette Grasso's candidacy has no ambitions that go beyond the simple but not negligible “it counts”: the favorites are others and two of these, Caterina Chinnici and Edy Tamajo, have excellent sponsors in the city: the Genovese family in the first case (in the wake of the support expressed by Raffaele Lombardo), Beppe Picciolo and Pietro Navarra in the second, with Grasso who, however, could enjoy reflected beneficial effects, including possible external aid (Cuffaro, if he diverted part of his electorate to Massimo Dell'Utri? ). What is certain is that Forza Italia is not experiencing a golden age in the city, despite having finally managed to structure itself with city coordination, entrusted to Antonio Barbera. The Maurizio Croce affair did not help, nor do the revolving doors, between entrances and exits, in the city council help to strengthen the identity of the Azzurri in the city (heavy, in this sense, the j'accuse launched by the columns of this newspaper, in recent days, by former councilor Sebastiano Tamà). An identity on which the national parliamentarians, Matilde Siracusano and Tommaso Calderone, are also called to work, starting from the European elections.

The support of the Brothers of Italy for Elvira Amata, now the consolidated leader of the Melonians on the banks of the Strait (with Pino Galluzzo as reference in the province), is united. A party that proved to be growing in the elections two years ago, but which today does not seem to have the tools for that great leap – the coalition leadership, mentioned above – which the prime minister's party could aspire to. In any case, Amata is among the few exponents of FdI in Sicily to enjoy full autonomy, also thanks to the feeling with the powerful Manlio Messina, very close to the national leader.

The progressive front

The Democratic Party did not respect the first purpose it set itself with the start of the congress phase: to celebrate the provincial congress before the European elections. And so a party comes to the vote not only without leadership, but also grappling with denied yet poorly concealed internal divisions, embodied, in some ways, by the two candidates in pectore for the secretariat: the former Art.1 Domenico Siracusano and the Saittian Armando Hyerace . It is probably no coincidence that the ballot for the Messina candidacy remained standing until the very end, between a former Art.1, Maria Flavia Timbro, and an exponent of the “old guard”, Antonella Russo. In the end there is Timbro in the running, who already has experience as a national deputy (she took over from Guglielmo Epifani in the summer of 2021) and the feeling is that these European Championships can become a piece to be interpreted and placed in the right place in the mosaic of internal party matters, precisely with a view to the congress.

One of the people from Messina who have the most chances to book a ticket to Brussels is undoubtedly Giuseppe Antoci, group leader of the 5 Star Movement complete with investiture from above by the leader Giuseppe Conte. One of the champions of the Sicilian anti-mafia enjoys the full support of the city's leading five-star members, Senator Barbara Floridia and the regional deputy Antonio De Luca, who have the arduous task of making people forget the sensational debacle of the previous administrative elections: in June 2022 the M5S went from being the most represented group in the city council to not having even one elected representative at Palazzo Zanca. A vertical collapse, partially amortized with the September election day of 2022, of which we want to understand, at the European elections, the nature: episodic or symptomatic?

The De Luca unknown

One of the big question marks of this electoral round revolves around the undisputed protagonist of the Messina political scene in recent years: Cateno De Luca. And if the unknown, until a few days ago, was simply linked to whether or not the fateful threshold of 4 percent was reached by the to say the least composite (that's a euphemism) “Freedom” list, today it is represented by the actual participation to the electoral competition of De Luca himself. More than the state of health of his creature, South calls North, what worries the health of the undisputed leader, who has been hospitalized at the Messina Polyclinic since Monday evening after feeling ill during a rally, due to acute pneumonia. «Although his health has improved, antibiotic treatment for acute pneumonia requires an additional five days of hospital treatment. Furthermore, after the resignation, a subsequent rehabilitation phase is planned with adequate measures to avoid dangerous relapses”, reads the bulletin released yesterday by De Luca's press office. With an ending that leaves that question mark suspended: «There is a firm will on De Luca's part to return as soon as possible to his many commitments and to the electoral campaign and tomorrow (today, ed.) he will decide what to do». What does it mean to decide what to do? Could he retire? Meanwhile, today in Messina there will be Captain Ultimo (who is not a candidate in the Islands constituency), in the company of the mayor Federico Basile and the regional deputy Ismaele La Vardera (he is a candidate), for a tour of the barracks. And tonight the electoral dinner is confirmed (with quotas of a thousand euros) in a hotel in Taormina. What is certain is that without Cateno De Luca at the top, the potential of “South calls North” is not the same, in an electoral round that represents a fundamental stage for two parallel paths: that of the party on a national scale and that of De Luca himself towards an achievement never set aside, the presidency of the Region.

The “derbies” at the Center

There is a great guest of stone, so far, in this electoral campaign: Totò Cuffaro. In the end, the doors of the United States of Europe list of the tandem formed by Italia Viva and +Europa remained barred, and the intransigent voice was certainly not that of the Renzians, on the contrary: a pact with the DC was not for Senator Dafne Musolino he would be at all sorry. There are those who would bet, today, on a postponed wedding. And who, on the other hand, is talking about a wedding (with Cuffaro) which could concern only the former Deluchian senator. The veto of +Europa has been decided, reiterated several times also by the regional coordinator Palmira Mancuso, and the candidates who will be supported in Messina will be two: the radical Rita Bernardini and a veteran like Francesco Calanna, former PD. Those who have never opened their doors in Cuffaro are certainly Azione di Calenda, who are struggling to find outlets in the city (among the Messina references is the former councilor Pippo Isgrò, for the European elections he will have the support of Pippo Rao's liberals ), but is banking heavily on Sonia Alfano, who has already been in Strasbourg, ten years ago, with Italia dei Valori. The presence of “Pace Terra Dignità”, the list of Michele Santoro, which in Messina is fielding a former Accordinti councilor, Nino Mantineo, remains on stand-by.

And Popular Alternative is also on the field, with the candidacy of Massimo Romagnoli, current president of the V CGIE Commission, who will hold a conference on Monday, at 11 am, in the headquarters in via Sant'Agostino. Alfonso Alaimo, regional coordinator of Alternativa Popolare, will be present.