Slovenian Marko Pisani elected to Friuli Venezia Giulia council
Trieste/Ljubljana, 4 April - Marko Pisani, a member of the Slovenian minority in Italy, has been elected to the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Council. His party, the Slovenian Union (SSk), polled at 1.02%, just above the 1% electoral threshold.
Pisani, who received 986 preferential votes, the most in the minority's party, served as regional councillor already in the term that is now coming to a close, since he stepped in last year to take Igor Gabrovec's place as the latter was elected mayor of Duino-Aurisina.
Commenting on his election, Pisani told Italian broadcaster RAI he is happy the Slovene Union would keep its representative in the Regional Council, but conceded that it was a very tight race.
"I believe the result presents us with new dilemmas that will have to be addressed immediately after the election," he said.
This time around the party's result was slightly worse than in the previous election five years ago, when the SSk got 1.16%. Pisani thinks there are a number of reasons for this, including the impact of the demographic decline among minority members.
Following the election, an analysis should be made to find out what happened and what to do in the future," he said, adding that this also applied to the Gorizia area where the SSk saw the biggest drop in support.
Commenting on the result, the party, whose Slovenian name translates into English as "Slovenian community", said that Pisani's election had ensured an independent and sovereign voice of the minority to be represented in the Regional Council.
It seems that Pisani will be the only elected Slovenian in the council, which makes him and the party even more responsible for the minority's representation, the SSk added.
Gabrovec, SSk regional party secretary, said that the party should overhaul its platform to address the drop in support, noting the risk of failing to ensure Slovenian representation in the council due to minority members' votes being dispersed among different parties.
Pleased that the SSk made it to the council, the minority's umbrella organisations also warned that the party got in by a hair.
Ksenija Dobrila, head of the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union, and Walter Bandelj, head of the Council of Slovenian Organisations, agree with Pisani on the demographic decline being the reason for the worse result.
Bandelj believes this will pose a problem in the future as well, and so a solution should be found to ensure Slovenian minority representation in the council that would not depend on passing the electoral threshold.
"Both the SSk and the entire Slovenian minority in Italy face a lot of work now," he told the STA.
Dobrila said that the centre-left Democratic Party had won in the Trieste and Gorizia constituencies mainly due to the minority's votes, urging the party to acknowledge this. She is happy that the far right did not make a breakthrough, which gives her hope that politics in the region in the next five years will be moderate and not extreme.
Certain other parties' candidate lists also included members of the minority. Among Slovenian candidates, the most preferential votes went to Valentina Repini from the centre-left Democratic Party - 1,504, but having ranked third on her party's ticket in the Trieste electoral district, she failed to make it to the Regional Council.
The minority newspaper Primorski Dnevnik reports that incumbent regional councillor Danilo Slokar, a member of the right-wing party League, failed to be re-elected. Provisional results show he received 438 preferential votes and finished second on his party's ticket in the Trieste area.
Regretful that Repini did not reach the quorum, Tatjana Rojc, an ethnic Slovenian and Repini's party peer who serves as senator in the Italian parliament, told the STA that Repini had still achieved a remarkable result. The votes she received are not wasted and the Democratic Party will be able to count on them in the future too, she added.
The Regional Council in Trieste comprises 48 councillors, including the president of the region and the presidential candidate who has the second highest number of votes.
The centre-right Massimiliano Fedriga was re-elected Friuli Venezia Giulia president in what was the first such re-election in history with 64.2% of the vote, and the runner-up was Massimo Moretuzzo, from the centre-left, with 28.4% of the vote.
Candidates from 13 parties, movements or coalitions vied to fill the remaining seats on the council, and the incoming councillors were elected in five constituencies - Trieste, Gorizia, Udine, Pordenone and Tolmezzo.
Turnout stood at 45.3%, lower than in the previous regional election five years ago when 49.6% of voters cast their ballots. This year's election took place from Sunday to Monday, whereas in 2018 voters had only one day to vote.