Paolo Garofalo, was born in Enna, Sicily. He graduated in Political Science at the University of Palermo and was a socialist activist since his youth. Several times elected city councilor, he was mayor of the City of Enna, from 2010 to 2015. He is the author of several books on human rights and communication, in particular political communication, and since 2021 he is the President of the Center for Research and Documentation on the Mediterranean and the South of Italy “Napoleone Colajanni”. It is currently part of the Sicilian Regional Directorate of the Democratic Party.
The year 2022 heralds the sign of Pisces, but in the Republic of Malta and the Sicilian Region the year 2022 heralds the holding of general elections. In both these Mediterranean islands, citizens will have to go to the polls to choose who will govern them for these next years of pandemic and crisis.
In Sicily the struggle is mainly between the Centre-Right parties that, united, maintain an overall advantage over the Left coalition, while in Malta the conditions are clearly to the advantage of the Labour Party compared to the Conservatives. Not even the election of the ultra-conservative and ultra-nationalist Roberta Metsola to the Presidency of the European Parliament changes the conditions of great advantage that the Maltese socialists have been enjoying for at least two reasons.
The election of Metsola took place under the aegis that pax melior est quam iustissimum bellum which, going beyond the so-called “Ursula majority”, also extends to the “relay pact”, agreed between the Liberals, Popular and Socialists since the election of Sassoli in 2019 which provided for alternation to the Presidency of the European Parliament.
For this reason, the European Socialists were not afraid to support the election of Metsola despite the fact that it is an exponent of that Nationalist Party so dear to the Italian irredentists who claimed the annexation of the island to fascist Italy, denying Malta political and cultural autonomy.
The second reason is all within the island: the growth that Malta had under the leadership of Labour during these last nine years is not questioned by the Maltese people who have made it very clear that they heartily approve how the Socialists have guaranteed an international recognition of the Republic of Malta and fostered foreign trade relations, intensifying tourism and ensuring the safety of the island.
The growth that Malta had under the leadership of Labour during the last 9 years is not questioned by the Maltese people.
In other words, the Maltese Socialists have been able to govern the pressing emigration underway in the Mediterranean, have been able to cope with the pandemic and the international crisis, have created working conditions and have increased international investment for the Island, in a united and progressive Europe. For these reasons, the Maltese, who are neither fools nor distracted, are strongly on the side of the Labour Party and its candidates.
In Sicily the situation is reversed because the Centre-right is historically stronger (so much so as to win the elections of five years ago). But the five-year legacy of President Musumeci and the conservatives that have badly ruled Sicily is there for all to see and note. And the Sicilians, neither stupid nor distracted, they have noticed very well.
The Sicilian government led by Nello Musumeci has led to the regression of the conditions of the Sicilians in every sector of public life. Increased unemployment, increased crime, inability to manage the pandemic, increased youth and female emigration.
This bad government has provoked a crisis even within the coalition that elected Musumeci, and in the last few hours the chances of the centre-right joining the elections seem to diminish in sight. The only certainty is that Musumeci will not be the single candidate of the centre-right.
So if conditions on the Left were bleak, today although it is not yet easy, the possibility of winning the elections heralds a light at the end of the tunnel. This scenario is very much underlined when one notes the agreement between Conte’s Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party, which is very well played in Sicily and, on the other hand, the break-up of the Centre-right coalition can seriously favour the socialist victory, to the point that the MEP of the Democratic Party, Caterina Chinnici, could be the candidate of the centre-left offering to the Sicilians, for the first time, a woman at the head of the Region.
The scene that will be presented at the end of the year could therefore be a double whammy when it comes to socialist leaders; in Malta and also in Sicily, favouring common policies for the two islands and their peoples.
It is now necessary for Sicily and Malta to hold a close discussion and a common language on the Mediterranean.
It is now necessary for Sicily and Malta to hold a close discussion and a common language on the Mediterranean in order to regain the centrality of political action, both in relations with the Maghreb countries and the Middle East, and with other European countries, from the commercial, business and safety perspective.
Malta and Sicily must have a constant, constructive dialogue which promotes the well-being of the two peoples. We need a common, progressive policy that is strongly geared to strengthening the fight against organized crime, the security of cities and land employment.
The Sicilian Democrats and Maltese Labour must work together and together can ensure a better future for their people and the whole of the Mediterranean.
For these reasons, a Labour vote in Malta and the Centre left in Sicily is a proud expression of the Maltese and Sicilian identities, but also speaks a lot about a progressive, European and Mediterranean region.