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Elly Schlein: 37-year-old »anti-Meloni« becomes Italy's new opposition leader


Italy's largest opposition party has a new leader: Contrary to the polls, the queer, progressive Elly Schlein was elected. She positions herself as an alternative to the post-fascist prime minister.

Enlarge image

The new PD boss Elly Schlein

Photo: Guido Calamosca / dpa

In Italy, Giorgia Meloni is governed by a post-fascist, and the largest opposition party has so far done little to counteract this.

Now the social-democratic Partito Democratico (PD) has elected a new leader – the outsider Elly Schlein replaces the previous PD leader and former Prime Minister Enrico Letta and is supposed to bring her party on course against Meloni in the future.

According to the provisional count, Schlein was able to prevail in the basic vote with 54 to 46 percent against the northern Italian regional president Stefano Bonaccini.

A small sensation: according to polls, Bonaccini was the real favourite.

All Italians were entitled to vote, regardless of their party affiliation – but for a fee of two euros.

Schlein is considered a left-wing rebel.

She is the daughter of an American professor and an Italian professor, she was born in Switzerland.

She only came to Italy at the age of 19 and studied law in Bologna.

On Barack Obama's campaign team

The 37-year-old is considered a kind of alternative to Meloni: the head of government defends the traditional family image and rejects equality for gays and lesbians, while Schlein is an advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community and loves a woman herself.

It is considered cosmopolitan, socio-ecological, progressive - as "anti-meloni".

In 2008 and 2012, she worked on former US President Barack Obama's campaign team and has already been compared to US Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Italian media for her unexpected rise to power and activist zeal.

She promised the PD a renewal.

She wants to unite her divided party and work on the transition to a greener economy, labor reform and wealth distribution, Schlein said on Sunday evening.

“The democratic people are alive and ready to rise.

This is a clear mandate for real change,” says Schlein.

The PD was founded in 2007 as a centre-left party and is the largest opposition party in Italy.

Former communists, socialists and Christian democrats come together in it.

In the 2013-2018 legislative period, she provided the three heads of government Letta, Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni.

She was also involved in the second government of Giuseppe Conte (2019-2021) and the government of Mario Draghi (2021-2022).

In the election for the House of Representatives on September 25, she only got 19 percent, in polls she is currently well below that.

Schlein is now considered Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's first challenger.

The head of government congratulated the new opposition leader on her success.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-02-27

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