- The Premier Italian American Newspaper Since 1931 -

An Open Letter to Bid Farewell to the 2018 Reelections

Dear friends,

I am writing to you after both Houses of Parliament have officially closed all legislative functions in preparation for the March 4th elections. I am letting all of you know that I will not be seeking reelection. I am very proud of my five year experience representing my fellow Italians living abroad. They have been intense years, during which I have lived through enormous changes within our political system. We have effectively transitioned from a bipolar to a tri-polar system, now that the 5-Star Movement has grown into a political force.

Breaking away from a system we had grown accustomed does come with challenges – it is likely that no one will be able to win the upcoming elections outright. This has already happened in the past, leading to compromise governments. When Enrico Letta was Prime Minister with the Partito Democratico, the entire center-right (with the exception of the Lega Nord) joined the government. After the center-right broke up, Matteo Renzi had a more left-leaning stance, but he still had to deal with many factions on the other side of the aisle. In other words, a risk of paralysis is possible for the next legislature. It may be hard to find a new and unified majority.

In these past few years, I think our most important skill has been the ability to walk “the narrow path,” as Minister of the Economy Pier Carlo Padoan once said. We have been able to stay within the parameters of the European Union, keeping our spending under control and reducing the deficit, all while fostering growth. At one point, it seemed almost impossible to combine growth and deficit reduction. There was the risk of a free fall on both ends. But all three governments that presided over the legislature (Letta, Renzi and now Gentiloni) proved that it was possible. From an economic point of view, we can certainly say it has been a positive legislature. The road traveled by the Partito Democratico should be continued — that is vital for our country.

From a parliamentary point of view and more precisely for our communities abroad, there has been a sort of awakening. Many important goals have been reached and we were able to secure future funding for Comites, CGIE, the spread of the Italian language and culture and much more.

More broadly, there have been many advances when it comes to our citizens’ private lives. I refer to civil rights, an abbreviated divorce process, the biological testament and our youth’s future. Unfortunately, we were not able to change Italy’s laws to allow those born in the country to automatically become Italian citizens. I think we can definitely highlight this as one of the legislature’s low points. Some of my colleagues, surely in good faith, made the mistake of exploiting this situation. I’m sure, however, that the matter will be picked up again in the future because it is very important and must be dealt with and solved by the end of the next legislature.

Now we enter the final phases of the electoral campaign. We can already hear the yelling and shouting to draw attention to varying political positions. But I am not that kind of politician. For me, politics is reasoning, reflecting and mediating. It is solidarity and dialogue, getting together at a table and finding solutions. I don’t like propaganda and I hope no one will make use of it to take advantage of our dear communities of Italians living abroad.

In closing, I would like to thank all those who supported me throughout these wonderful years, as well as those who criticized me, because thanks to all of you I have grown from both a political and a human point of view. Grazie.