Vibo, between winners and losers: the Democratic Party hit the mark with Romeo. This is why Cosentino lost. And Pitaro…


By John

The game is closed. Enzo Romeo triumphed in the runoff against Roberto Cosentino and was elected mayor of Vibo Valentia. 911 votes difference between the two competitors in the second round of the Vibo municipal elections: and it is this figure in absolute value that explains the clear distance between the two, beyond the percentage value (53.60% Romeo against 46.40% of Cosentino).

The Democratic Party hit the mark with Romeo

Two years of discussion, dialogue, meetings, thematic, inter-party tables. The Democratic Party in Vibo, restarted from the ashes, had only one name: Enzo Romeo. Francesco Colelli (city secretary of the Dems) believed in it from the beginning, and by importing the famous theory of the median voter of the American political scientist Anthony Downs in a Vibo style, he focused on a left-wing but moderate figure.

Elections are won at the center and the Vibo Democratic Party has understood this by focusing on a name that could make inroads into several layers of the Vibo population: the wealthier classes of the city, so to speak, but also that segment of the population most linked to values of the left and, so to speak, less aristocratic and bourgeois. Romeo had already received a vote in his favor in the first round which had already hinted that the match in the run-off could be played at least on equal terms. In Vibo, after months of tribulations, after stale weeks in which the progressive coalition on the one hand went undauntedly ahead with Romeo, on the other (above all the M5S deputy Riccardo Tucci) wanted to focus on a civic candidate thinking that Romeo could represent the old. But a good portion of the city had already embraced Romeo’s project with his ambitious Progetto Vibo Study Center around which he had aggregated professionals from various sectors: lawyers, doctors, architects, sociologists, economics and urban planning experts. In the end the coalition, like it or not, veered (due to lack of alternatives) towards Enzo Romeo. He made the difference in the political-electoral offering of the municipal elections: the refrain of recent weeks was often the following among the people: “among the three candidates for mayor (there were also Cosentino and Muzzopappa, in addition to the candidacy arrives at the last minute from the communist Murabito) Romeo is the most reliable”. The challenge was to go to the ballot and then play for it: it has often been said that Romeo’s lists were few and weak, but in the end the numbers rewarded him and the split vote allowed him to come second, overcoming the strong competition from Muzzopappa .

Why Cosentino lost and why the center-right has melted away

On the other side of the fence there is a center-right split beyond belief. In a nutshell: in the autumn the outgoing mayor Maria Limardo (already weakened by her departure from the majority of Città Futura) is practically off the radar for a possible re-nomination. Too divisive, too cumbersome. The survey data are merciless and so here is the hunt for a new figure. Time passes, we reach the end of the year and on December 30th, in that famous public meeting which inaugurates the new theater in the Moderata Durant neighbourhood, the mayor seems to flourish again and seems ready in some way to take back the reins. She always believed in it, she was ready to run again, she was ready to get back on the field. She would have done it at any cost, but in the end she was stopped by her closest allies, by Forza Italia which still repeats the annoying “mantra” that it was Limardo who chose to step aside. The fact is that the mayor, even if there had been a minimal possibility of regrouping forces for her re-nomination, is shooting herself in the foot. The “premiere” at the theater becomes a real farce, the authorizations for Ale and Franz’s show are not there.

The theater inaugurated at the end of the year is essentially not yet ready to host any type of event. In the end the “premiere” takes place: but for a select few, chaos is created outside the theater and discontent explodes on social media. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back: every doubt is dispelled and we really start working for a new candidate. There’s a problem though: it’s as big as a skyscraper. The centre-right is no longer there in Vibo: Forza Italia has lost its driving force, the internal struggle between Mangialavori (ousted at regional level by the very powerful Reggio MP Cannizzaro) and Daffinà (always loyal to President Occhiuto who in this electoral round has son-in-law Vincenzo Porcelli elected) becomes more acute. The allies are no longer there: Fratelli d’Italia does not exist in the city of Vibo (despite having received 1499 votes in the first round: the most voted was Antonio Schiavello, group leader of the outgoing Forza Italia group with 360 preferences), the Lega ditto. We Moderates with the volcanic provincial secretary Maria Rosaria Nesci had already veered towards other shores some time ago. Not even a shadow of civic movements, especially after the release of Vito Pitaro’s group, Città Futura. The showdown begins: Mangialavori “falls asleep” and leaves the scene: the chess game is entrusted to Michele Comito (regional councilor and provincial coordinator for the Azzurri) and Tonino Daffinà. Headlights and lights turned on Roberto Cosentino, son of Franco (former mayor of Vibo in the 80s and historic exponent of the DC). The center-right turns to the regional manager with the aim of creating a sort of internal discontinuity and overcoming the Limardo phase. Cosentino’s choice brings Stefano Luciano’s center-right Vibo Unica and the Indipendenza party led by former senator Franco Bevilacqua back into the mix. Both had been in opposition to the mayor Limardo. But the slogan of “Let’s go beyond” doesn’t pay. Cosentino, although he is an appreciated manager at the Citadel, does not actually have the decision-making autonomy to be able to force his hand. There is little time available: he tries to make himself known, he shows himself to be hyper-polite in his ways, but in fact he remains unknown to a good portion of the population who perhaps would have liked to see him next to their front door, or near the pothole in the neighborhood road or to the sidewalk full of weeds. A fact, the latter, also underlined by the allies in the final rally last Friday and it is Senator Fausto Orsomarso who throws the stone into the pond: “Roberto you are too good, Roberto they have seen you more on the radio than in the street among the people “.

But let’s go back and conclude to Mangialavori: the deputy king of electoral consensus in recent years has stepped aside. He has worked behind the scenes in recent months without exposing himself, except to reiterate the good work of the mayor Limardo at every turn. Almost never a convinced support for the team, if not for his stables (the people closest to him, Carmen Corrado and Pino Calabria, were elected to the city council). After the debacle of the first round, here is the return of the flame. Almost as if to say, have you seen? Without me you can’t win, now I’m back on the pitch. Social posts, appeals to vote to go house to house. And then the final rally: a muscular test to attack Romeo and the centre-left, to reiterate once again that Limardo did well. Final gloss on Fratelli d’Italia: the strongest party in Italy is not present in Vibo. One of the most voted, Antonio Schiavello, goes to the city council, but he does not belong to the party. The list of 25 names with around ten candidates imported from Forza Italia. So the time has come in Vibo for the center-right to take a real bath in humility and ask itself about the mistakes it has made and how to start again.

Vito Pitaro, a Vibonese Heart… But what happens now?

In the end, he was right. Vito Pitaro, political strategist and former regional councilor, is one of the winners of these municipal elections. In the first round his list gets a lot of consensus and is the most voted list overall with almost two thousand votes. Having left the majority a year ago (with 4 councilors resigning), Pitaro’s group has once again flexed its muscles, demonstrating to all political forces that to win it is necessary to go through its votes. Because it is true that Romeo won and enjoyed his personal reputation, but in the end it is clear that the gap of 911 votes with Cosentino also passes through the votes that from the center coalition have somehow poured into Romeo.

Pitaro at this moment had every interest in the centre-right losing. Now, however, a new game opens up for the former child prodigy of Vibo politics: a start in the Italian Communists, then the Pd, then the centre-right. The challenge is to keep together a group where frictions have emerged, where high-level professionals emerge such as the two elected councilors, Cutrullà and Tucci. Where, at the same time, personalities of the caliber of Termini, Roschetti, Tripodi, Chiaravalloti (just to name a few) were left out, despite gaining very high acclaim. And if Pitaro aspires to return to being a protagonist in future electoral competitions (and not just local ones) he will necessarily have to work to keep together a team in which the stomach aches have not yet completely gone away.