ROME. Where Giorgia Meloni was on Thursday, last night it was Enrico Letta. Where the flags of the Brothers of Italy flew copiously, last night they were those of the Democratic Party – a lady was wandering around the square an hour from the start: «Do you want a T-shirt or a flag? It’s free”. The stage is no longer in shades of white and blue as for the center-right, last night in Piazza del Popolo for the closing rally of the Democratic Party it was all red, the blow-up of the secretary on the screens, the slogan “Choose” in the background . It takes time to fill up, this “democratic and progressive” square, as they repeat from the stage, and not even at the key moment of the secretary’s speech is it really full: the days of Walter Veltroni’s Democratic Party defeat but 33 per cent was touched and the excitement of the first time was felt.
This time no, more than emotion there is the pride of having tried it, more than the pathos of waiting the disillusionment of a feared result. “I am very afraid, we hope to contain the victory of the right”, sighs Elvira Tomassetti sitting in the front row, the Pd shirt over her dress, 80 years old that she did not want to miss, with her husband and a friend of hers. A life on the left, from the PCI onwards, up to here. Next to her there are the Young Democrats of Empoli, fifteen of them arrived, two of them are not even old enough to vote: «The result is not already written: do you remember Bersani? We thought he would win, but instead… Even the right might not win », Amedeo Cantini hopes, alongside him Adele, Lorenzo and Filippo, 91 years old in four.
With a few minutes late the micro-rallies start from the stage: the mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri, Nicola Zingaretti, Pina Picierno. And then the deputy secretaries, the leaders of the Chamber and Senate, the ministers. One after the other, two minutes each, “thank you, Rome” and “from here you are beautiful” as if it were a rock concert. Except that the square is warm, tired, for each a brief courtesy applause, only the governor of Campania Vincenzo De Luca awakens a little enthusiasm and overruns the times, and patience if between a criticism of Conte and one of Meloni it is little also courteous to Enrico Letta: “I don’t feel like saying that we offer a crackling and pyrotechnic secretary, but we do offer highly competent executives”. She awakens her oratory, and the theme of rights: screams and applause when she addresses the leader of the Brothers of Italy to tell her that “when a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy, no one has the right to offend her dignity and her pain” , or when Elly Schlein declares “I am a woman, I love another woman, I am not a mother, but this does not make me less a woman, because we are not living wombs, but people with their rights”. The boys in the front row applaud: they know their peers on the right, “on rights they are often transversal”, assures Adele Calonaci, with the air of someone who cultivates hope.
“Many former voters at the beginning of this election campaign no longer wanted to listen to us, they were disappointed – explains Luca Celani, secretary of the Ceprano section, in the province of Frosinone – but I remain an incurable optimist”. Beside him, a friend shakes her head disconsolately. «But then, Sunday, when they realize they are one step away from the abyss, what will they do? We are a guarantee. And between a bad result and a very bad one, there is a lot … ». She clings to the hope of being a safe haven. A man with his son and wife in tow sums it up as follows: «The PD is like the last product you find on the supermarket shelf on Saturday night, before closing. You make it fit you », she spreads her arms. Where passion does not reach, she tries to reach pragmatism. Even what gives hope for the five-star Movement to succeed in the South: “Maybe they subtract single-member constituencies from the right. . . ”
Before Letta takes the stage, before his last rally of this electoral campaign, an orchestra plays “Bella ciao” and finally the crowd comes alive, it is a convinced choir that goes on even when the music stops. Over there, sitting on the edge of the square, the Turin-born Valerio Occhetto is sitting with a sign hanging from his neck: «Born under Mussolini, I wouldn’t want to die under Meloni. God help us!”. Passing by many photograph it: «I’m afraid of Giorgia Meloni – he whispers – history never repeats itself the same, but the core of fascism was extreme nationalism. I am a founding member of the Democratic Party, this time the elections will go wrong. But there is an important function to play also in the opposition ».
When Letta takes the stage, the “Enrico, Enrico” choir starts, and the secretary underlines it, thinking of Enrico Berlinguer, who in this square still warms the hearts of many. «The comeback is possible, let’s go and win», he tries to give the office, behind him all the leaders lined up, the same ones who called him back from Paris after the resignation of Zingaretti, with the party in pieces; the same suspected of already having a congress in mind, a new secretary, a new internal battle. But now is the time to be united, forty-eight hours at the end of this ride. The Hymn to Joy starts, the European anthem, then the Italian one. Below the stage, two Brazilian ladies wander around in awe: Is it a left-wing party? they ask. They run to get a flag, they are photographed wrapped in the symbol of the Democratic Party. At least them, full of enthusiasm.