Future uncertain for LeU after election catastrophe

Grasso (centre) at a press conference in Rome on Monday.

ROME – Liberi e Uguali officials and candidates were left pondering the future of the party on Tuesday after a calamitous result in the elections that saw them scrape into parliament and leaves unresolved questions on where the party heads from here.

 Nicola Fratoianni, head of the Italian Left party that was one of the founding members of LeU, diagnosed the party’s failure by suggesting that they had “been unsuccessful in intercepting the voters leaving the Democratic Party” and promising: “we will reflect.”

 LeU was born out of the internal disputes within the Democratic Party (PD) ongoing throughout the early 2010s, as centrists and leftists fought it out for control of the party.

 They had polled at around five percent throughout the campaign. However, on election day they garnered only 3.39 percent of the vote in Chamber and 3.28 percent in the Senate, meaning they received only 1.1 million votes for the former and 985,000 in the latter.

 Party leader, Pietro Grasso, was on the end of a humiliating loss in his Palermo college, coming fourth in the race where the Five Star Movement collected over 43 percent of the vote.

 Grasso will still enter parliament through the proportional lists and vowed to fight on. “There is disappointment,” he told a press conference in Rome on Monday, “but we will continue.”

 With only 15 seats in the Chamber and 9 in the Senate, LeU are now facing the prospect of an unsavoury alliance with the Five Star Movement if they want to wield any influence in the next parliamentary session.

 Party bigwigs Laura Boldrini and Massimo D’Alema were also on the receiving end of drubbings. Boldrini, like Grasso, escaped through the proportional vote. However, D’Alema’s failure to receive more than a meagre 3.9 percent in the Senate race in Nardò saw him excluded from the next legislature, with the 68-year-old former prime minister saying that the race would be his last in frontline politics.

 There were also voices of more serious discontent. Onorio Rosati, LeU’s candidate in the provincial elections in Lombardy, called for an “assembly for a serious discussion on the result and the future of Liberi e Uguali.”