Elly Schlein, the secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), admits that some of the criticism she has faced in recent months is due to the fact that she is a woman. Speaking at the Open Festival in Parma, she acknowledges that gender plays a role in the criticism she receives, but it is not the only factor. Schlein reflects on the challenges the PD has faced since their defeat in the primaries, stating that they have made efforts to regain popularity and engage with the public. She asserts that they have proven those who believed the PD was finished wrong.
Schlein emphasizes the need for female leadership in Italian politics, particularly feminist leadership that challenges patriarchy. She criticizes Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right party, for weakening women’s conditions by limiting the “opzione donna” (a policy that allows women to retire earlier) and neglecting policies for childcare. Schlein argues that having a female prime minister is meaningless if it does not improve women’s conditions.
Reflecting on the past and the reasons for the PD’s defeats, Schlein acknowledges the party’s failure to connect with people and propose simple solutions such as wealth redistribution and better access to opportunities. She highlights the importance of recent battles for public healthcare and a minimum wage.
Schlein also criticizes the PD for not reforming the Bossi-Fini law, which she believes has caused problems for Italy. Regarding immigration, she proposes starting with the European Union and advocating for mandatory burden-sharing among member states, as voluntary mechanisms have not been effective. She criticizes Meloni for not having the courage to address this issue with leaders like Viktor Orban.
When asked about her political identity, Schlein diplomatically states that she hopes to be popular with her proposals. However, she proudly identifies as left-wing and defends her positions on issues such as the minimum wage, public healthcare, and public education.
Schlein also expresses her commitment to peace and ending the war in Ukraine. She believes that the PD should not abandon its aspiration for peace and supports the efforts of Pope Francis and Cardinal Zuppi to find a path towards peace in Ukraine. She emphasizes the need for a stronger European Union to play a more active role in diplomatic and political efforts to end the war.
In conclusion, Schlein addresses the challenges faced by the PD and emphasizes the importance of progressive and feminist leadership in Italian politics. She calls for a stronger focus on issues such as wealth redistribution, public healthcare, and education, as well as a more active role in promoting peace in Ukraine.
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