Can the Sardines help the PD win?
A new regional parliament will be elected in the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna on Sunday. The Sardines, a protest movement, was launched last November with the aim of mobilising voters for this election to prevent a victory for the far-right Lega party. In pro and contra articles, the Italian newspaper La Stampa debates whether the Sardines can help the struggling Partito Democratico to win the election.
Hope for the social democrats
The fact that the PD has good chances of a victory in Sunday's vote has a lot to do with the Sardines, columnist Federico Geremicca points out in La Stampa:
“You can say what you like, but they have changed what was a leaden climate, reassured the frightened centre-left formation and overturned a classic paradigm of Italian politics: that it is the parties that push so-called civil society to take a stand, otherwise it had better keep quiet. On the still stony road to a comeback, the first lesson Zingaretti and his Partito Democratico have received is therefore precisely this: that there are not just disappointed people in the back rows who are fleeing the scene. In short: the patient is not brain-dead, but he needs to be stimulated.”
Watch out for the boomerang effect!
Also in La Stampa, political scientist Giovanni Orsina counters that the Sardines' protests could actually end up helping Lega boss Salvini:
“Because they have confirmed that he plays a central role in public life. And those who play a central role are always at an advantage. What's more, they seem to be increasingly occupying the traditional symbolic and cultural spaces of the left, and one wonders how far they have managed to spread their message beyond progressive voters who need no convincing. ... By situating themselves in the traditional symbolic and cultural sphere of the left and reproducing its message, they may have irritated or scared off those voters who - primarily in Emilia Romagna - don't identify or no longer identify with progressive content.”