Commentary. For the Lega, Veneto is not just any region: the FdI moving against that bastion is an assault against the Lega’s dominance in the entire north, so Salvini is determined to really put up a fight. The question is also shaking up the PD.

Lega wants to extend term limits, but Meloni is pressing FdI’s advantage

While the issue of a third term for mayors and provincial governors is splitting the majority, it’s blowing up even more loudly within the PD. The expedient devised by FdI to avoid the tangled political issue altogether thanks to a procedural maneuver – having the Lega’s amendment introducing the third term declared inadmissible – now seems dead in the water.

FdI Chamber group leader Foti had already touted it as a done deal: “The amendment is to a particular decree, so it should be tied to the requirement of necessity and urgency for which the decree is adopted. I don’t think it’s possible for it to pass those requirements.”

It seemed like the amendment was dead and buried – except for the fact that the legislative decree is being discussed in the Senate, not the Chamber, and Constitutional Affairs Committee Chairman Balboni, also from the FdI, poured cold water on his colleague’s plan: “Subject to further study and a first reading, the amendment is not inadmissible.” His reasoning is that Article 1 of the proposed decree references regional elections, so the proposal to raise the term limit from two to three is relevant to the subject matter.

As everyone knows, the issue is not actually a technical one, but a political one, and thus it is the task of politics to untangle it. In this case, politics will have to play its part at the informal summit of the three majority leaders that should take place at the next Council of Ministers.

When the Lega clamors for “a third term,” one should read “for the president of the Veneto region,” a reality no one is trying to hide anymore: “I don’t understand, why is the FdI against it? Why does De Carlo want to be the president of Veneto so much?”

De Carlo, the FdI coordinator in the region and a leading candidate for regional president thanks to the fact that the Lega’s all-powerful Zaia will be out of the picture because of the two-term limit, took it upon himself to clarify: “We should have Veneto. Not only because we’re not governing any northern region, but also because the FdI got 32.5 percent here in the last elections.”

Moreover, when it comes to that region, Fratelli d’Italia also has more than a few thoughts. On Wednesday, Tajani came out openly against the third term: “We are against it in the name of democracy and the principle of alternation.” A cynic might add that it’s also in the name of the FdI’s dream – more of a mirage – of running Flavio Tosi for regional president.

But for the Lega, Veneto is not just any region: the FdI moving against that bastion is an assault against the Lega’s dominance in the entire north, so Salvini is determined to really put up a fight, partly in the hope of safeguarding this stronghold, partly to raise his clout as much as possible for when the majority’s candidates for the regions, and especially the municipalities, will be decided next year.

But the turmoil of the divided right is also echoed by the blatant split within the PD. The secretary is dead set against an amendment that would force her to put up with De Luca in Campania for one more term, as well as with Emiliano in Puglia, a prospect only a little less unpleasant. Senate group leader Boccia gave voice to her position: “We are absolutely against it. A third term creates local satraps.” Heaven forbid!

This time, the PD couldn’t manage to hide its internal divisions. PD mayoral coordinator and Mayor of Pesaro Ricci shot back: “The PD’s line cannot be the same as Boccia’s line.” Tuscany governor Giani agreed: “The decree would be improved with that amendment.” Serracchiani joined in: “I don’t see anything wrong with it.” Their statements led to Boccia backpedaling: “There is indeed a need to make adjustments to the decree. The PD is open to discussion.”

Ricci declared himself satisfied with that step back. However, Schlein has no intention of changing her mind, and neither does Meloni.

The convergence of interests between the two leaders is turning out to be more weighty than ephemeral after the agreement on Gaza, also one dictated by common interest. Meloni was looking for a way to shift gears without making it too obvious, to keep up the appearance of toeing the line of her friend Joe Biden. Schlein needed to take back the reins of her party and the opposition forces with a political move that was more than just propaganda. But now, it is proving useful (and perhaps even necessary) for both of them to keep that channel of dialogue active, however limited.

Schlein needs to move from blunt propaganda to policy; and for Meloni, as for anyone in government, room for communication with the opposition is crucial. Not to mention the opportunity to outmaneuver her domestic rivals, Salvini and Conte.

Meloni and Schlein’s common bulwark against a third term could prove to be a further strengthening of the path of collaboration opened on Tuesday with their phone conversation.

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