Giorgia Meloni may lose votes in the south for her intention to abolish citizenship incomeIn a country at two speeds, the so-called ‘mezzogiorno’ has been calling for aid to institutions for decadesThe work of the PNRR plans to allocate 40% of European funds to the development of south, the new government will have to face this compromiseItaly is still very divided between north and south. “There is no doubt that Italy’s economic and social disunity remains the most obvious and least addressed structural limit”, says Eurispes -the Institute for Research on Italians-, stressing that a nation cannot be called that if a third of their countries find themselves in radically different conditions than the other two-thirds. The fracture has widened during the pandemic and the work, first by the second Conte Government and then by Prime Minister Mario Draghi, with the European Economic Recovery Funds (PNRR in Italian) was aimed at taking advantage of this occasion, unique because Italy has never received so many funds from Brussels, to eliminate this distance. The new Executive – the center-right will win according to the electoral polls – will have to face the management of the funds, and although the favorite for prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, proposes a readjustment of them in her electoral program, the biggest problem will be in spending of funds, experts explain. The south is afraid of being forgotten again by a government that does not understand its needs and this seems to reactivate an electorate that previously did not plan to vote this Sunday, September 25. The electoral campaign has set a different pace in recent hours. Giorgia Meloni filled the squares of southern Italy, such as this past Saturday in Bari, but the last few days have marked an unexpected rise in popularity for the M5S -the polls can no longer be published but the end of the campaign has marked the electoral thermometer- in what has always been his great fief, everything that is geographically below Rome -from the region of Naples, the Campagna, to Sicily-. There are many aspects that determine a more progressive vote for the south, which, in this case, would not go to the Democratic Party, but to the grillinos, who have been the architects of measures such as income for citizens, help for people who cannot access to a decent salary to a job, widespread and very necessary for many families in regions such as Apulia or Calabria. It is precisely this measure that is central to the conception of the vote in the south and the leader in the polls, Giorgia Meloni, the person most likely to become prime minister, is also the only party head that calls for the total abolition of the measure in one in an economic policy that looks at entrepreneurs but not at social classes which, in this case, the south, can turn against them.Dalila Nesci is undersecretary for the south and a candidate for the Italian Parliament in the party of Luigi di Maio, current Foreign Affairs, Empeño Cívico, after the split of the M5S. She has campaigned in her region, Calabria, the tip of the Italian boot, and she recognizes all the problems of the south, on which she has worked and that she has lived before in her own experience. “The historical problems linked to the so-called ‘mezzogiorno’ are the scarcity of health resources, the responsibility of the national policy to encourage precarious work and the management of public money with the complicity of the mafias for decades,” she explains. In addition to these problems, which have been present for decades, there is now another big factor: the money that comes from Europe with the PNRR and that will last until 2025. “In working with the Draghi Executive, we wanted to introduce a rate to guarantee that 40% of the funds that arrive are destined, in a mandatory way, to the south. This warranty rule is critical for the years to come,” she adds. Nesci tries to highlight the value of European funds in a south of Italy that needed a boost at that level more than any other part.#VersoSud, Draghi: The #PNRR allocates at least 40% of the funds to the #Sud. With the PNRR riduciamo i divari territoriali: dobbiamo fare in modo che tutti i cittadini italiani possano I will access servizi della stessa qualità e con la stessa facilità pic.twitter.com/HXJrXS3r32—Palazzo_Chigi (@Palazzo_Chigi) May 13, 2022 The teacher of Political Science of the University of Salento, Federico Russo, in the southeastern region of Apulia, in the heel of Italy, speaks about a fundamental nuance, says, on the subject the PNRR. “These huge funds are a great opportunity for the South, but also a great risk. Not so much because of the problem of the mafia, which comes later, but because of the ability of public administrations to manage to spend all the money that is coming in with projects that are up to the task. This aspect has been completely ignored in the electoral campaign: it does not depend so much on reformulating the PNRR, or revising it, as the Brothers of Italy intend, but on spending them wisely. We risk having to restore them or lose credibility with Brussels”, says the expert. The M5S senator, Mario Turco, elected in the same region, in Apulia, defends that his party has always supported the idea that one must start from the south to advance in Italy. He is concerned that not only the right, but other political forces, question a measure, the income of citizenship, which has helped so many people and which exists in many other European countries. He also agrees on the fact of agility in the spending of European funds, an aspect, he says, central to guaranteeing that 40% of that money collaborates in the resurgence of the mezzogiorno. But, in addition to the problem of the funds that the new government will have to manage, there is a central factor in the policies of the south that can still be decisive in these hours before the vote. This is the case of the one already mentioned by the Italian senator, a citizenship income, a measure that helps so many people in the south – more than 70% of the beneficiaries are in places south of Rome -, as Russo explains, and that can mobilize an electorate , a priori disappointed with politics, but who will vote for fear of losing aid. It is on stage where the M5S, with a very left-wing campaign and very present in the south – this Wednesday the leader Giuseppe Conte received a fan bath in Naples – they can recover votes by appealing to what was their star measure. The grillino party will suffer, in any case, a result light years away from that of 2018, when it was the first party -now it is believed that it will be the fourth-. “Meloni has risked a lot by flatly refusing citizenship income. He has awakened a type of electorate that felt alienated in this electoral campaign and that will react when they see that the measure can be eliminated, ”he says. That is why an eminently abstentionist electorate can “wake up” these last days of the campaign. But, for the Brothers of Italy, it will not go badly in the south, the last polls, from ten days ago, gather a great consensus also in the mezzogiorno. “They will take the votes that the League will lose, because by their own characteristic the votes to the south move easily and at the time a large part of the electorate voted for the man of the moment, Matteo Salvini, and this time they will do so with the new ‘star leader ‘, Giorgia Meloni. There is another great reason why the leader of the Brothers of Italy can obtain very positive results in the south: there is a tradition linked to the National Alliance – a post-fascist party at the origin of the right-wing leader’s militancy.
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