Who is Luca Sammartino, the king of preferences in Sicily. Doctor with a passion for politics


By John

At the last regional elections, on 25 September 2022, Luca Sammartino put together 21,000 and 11 votes. An enormity. Even if it was a result not even comparable to that of 5 years earlier, when as a strongman of the Sicilian Renzians, he won 32,492 preferences. A record still unbeaten at Ars.

A ras of consensus, the current regional councilor for Agriculture. He is skilled in gathering votes but also in weaving the political canvas with which to capitalize on the electoral result. This has always been Sammartino's strategy. Ever since, in the legislature of Rosario Crocetta as president (between 2012 and 2017), he was elected from the ranks of the UDC and then passed into the orbit of a nascent movement, that of Lino Leanza, capable of acting as the balance of power in that turbulent time in Parliament.

Already in that electoral campaign Luca Sammartino, a young doctor with a passion for politics, was touched by investigations and controversies for having also sought votes at the Humanitas clinic, specialized in oncology treatments, in which his mother had a top role. However, he emerged from that suspicion without any legal problems. And his career takes off. Always in the orbit of the centrists, until he then moved into the ranks of the Renzian-led Democratic Party. Even when he moves bag and baggage to the other half of the pitch Sammartino is the man who deals the cards, a protagonist at Ars and outside. His votes multiply every month. And with them the attention of the judiciary. During the last legislature he became the man to whom Salvini entrusted the construction of a new ruling class of the League. And with this role he goes on a collision course with the president of the Region, Nello Musumeci.

The culmination of the clash between the allies arrives during a session of Parliament in which the majority falls under the blows of the snipers. Musumeci identifies Sammartino as the director of the “betrayal” and pronounces phrases at the Ars that mark the definitive break between the two big names in Etna: “Other buildings will deal with her, and not those of politics” shouted the President of the Region.
It must be said that Sammartino was already at the center of some investigations back then. But the most serious one was about to arrive. And in 2021 he brought the League's strongman to trial for electoral corruption. According to the Catania Prosecutor's Office in the 2017 regional elections (those with the record number of votes) he offered jobs “and other benefits” in exchange for votes.

To date, however, no sentence is pending against Sammartino. And this protected him from political consequences. Indeed, it has made him the man with the greatest weight in the centre-right also in this legislature. Renato Schifani assigned him the role of vice president of the Region and the leadership of the Agriculture Department, i.e. the most politically influential branch of administration after Healthcare.

The president also entrusted Sammartino with the role of link between government and Parliament. Despite this very role having brought the Northern League member several enemies at Ars who considered him the director of unscrupulous parliamentary maneuvers.

But nothing has been able to hinder Sammartino's further political growth in these first two years of legislature. Who in the meantime won the internal battle within the League, causing the fall of the regional secretary Annalisa Tardino, architect of a pact with rival Raffaele Lombardo. The internal axis of the Northern League that would have arisen from the alliance between its rivals (Tardino and Marianna Caronia) with Lombardo's MPA would have put Sammartino in difficulty. But this time too he won the political game, pushing the MPA out of the League and obtaining a change at the top of the party which will be formalized after the European Championships. Nino Germanà, from Messina and Sammartino's ally, should soon be at the top of the party.

The last maneuver that Sammartino was attempting was to also bring Totò Cuffaro and his DC into the League's orbit. The negotiations continued until yesterday evening and should have led to the entry of a Christian Democrat woman onto the list for the European elections. Sammartino spoke about this with the faithful returning from Verona, where he had acted as host of the Sicilia stand at Vinitaly. Last showcase before a judicial storm that could unseat him from the government on the eve of the European Championships.