Local elections in Italy, what we demand from candidates

On June 5th the citizens of Italy’s biggest cities will vote to elect the new mayor. Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin, Bologna are only some of the many places that will hold elections in 2016. With less then two months to go, here is what openpolis expects from candidates.

With election day getting closer, there are many issues that we as openpolis feel the need to address. As of today we ask candidates to be: more transparent about the funding of their electoral campaign, more open about their goals and objectives once elected and, for those that are currently MPs, resign from their office in parliament.

Campaign funding. With the launch of our project Patrimoni Trasparenti we began our work on campaign budgets of Italian members of parliament. We discovered that 31% of MPs do not publish their campaign budgets, basically going against the law. The 2016 local elections could be the chance for candidates to take a significant step towards transparency. Citizens would certainly appreciate knowing how campaigns are funded, and how much money is spent by each candidate. Since all of this information needs to be communicated to the regional electoral committee after the elections anyway, it is easily accessible and would require little extra-effort to inform citizens about spending and funding during the campaign.

Goals and objectives. The second issue of concern is the lack of clear electoral manifestos. In the five biggest cities that will hold local elections (Rome, Milan, Naples, Bologna and Turin) most candidates did not publish on their website a set of goals and objectives they wish to accomplish if elected. Out of all candidates only four (Marchini and Raggi in Rome, Parisi in Milan and Appendino in Turin) communicated a clear set of principles, policies and intentions.

MPs need to resign. The third and last element to consider involves those candidates that are currently members of parliament. The law does not prohibit this kind of behavior, but we consider it a lack of respect towards both citizens and institutions. Currently four MPs are running for mayor, and since the day they announced their candidacy they almost never participated in voting sessions in parliament.

Elections are always an opportunity for politicians to improve their relationship with citizens. We believe that through more information regarding campaign funding and spending, the publication of clear electoral manifestos, and the resignation of MPs running for mayor, this can be achieved.