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Avaaz under attack from far-right for launching first ever Italian Election Campaign

** Targeted approach in 25 House and Senate races aims to unite Italians against the extreme right, Meloni reacts: “They want to destroy our identity” **

Avaaz, a global civic movement with over 2 million Italian members, has launched its first major Italian election campaign. The goal is to unite Italians across party lines to keep far-right extremists out of government.

Over 62% of Italians aren’t planning to vote for the right-wing coalition, with many more opposing Lega Nord or Brothers of Italy. But due to changes to Italy's electoral system with new "first past the post" races, and the simultaneous coalition of the right and splintering of the rest, a minority of voters could put the far right into power - with some of the latest polls showing them only 5 seats from absolute majority in the Senate and 20 in the house. It's this violation of the will of the people that Avaaz's campaign seeks to prevent.

Perhaps fearing that this democratic approach will succeed, the far-right has already attacked Avaaz. The Leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, responded by saying “Italy needs to be defended against those who want to destroy its identity”.

What the Campaign will do

The campaign targets the 25 closest House and Senate races across the country, alerting voters to which candidate is most likely to defeat the candidate of the right-wing coalition. Those candidates are typically Cinque Stella, Democratic Party or +Europe candidates. The result is that, while these political parties aren’t formally united, their voters can form a de facto coalition to defeat the far right.

“This campaign is about democracy. It’s about bringing together concerned Italians to keep Berlusconi’s coalition with the extremists out of power. That’s why we call on citizens in the 25 most contested areas to unite behind the candidate most likely to beat them, we can ensure, that a minority of votes doesn’t give them a majority of seats.” said Luca Nicotra, Senior Campaigner with Avaaz.

Avaaz's 2 million members voted to launch this campaign in an online poll, and will be mobilized to reach out to fellow citizens through social media. Avaaz will also run targeted constituency based advertisements informing voters of the closest races.

Far-Right, Meloni, Already Attack Campaign

Besides Meloni’s immediate reaction, Brothers of Italy candidate for Rome, Federico Iadicicco, wrote on Facebook that “this is a clash of civilizations”. Famous right-wing blogger Enzo Pennetta called the vote in Rome “a referendum for or against Soros", using a favourite attack line of the far-right. Similar lines about Soros's involvement in the Italian election were also picked up by Iadicicco and Berlusconi’s paper Il Giornale.

"Avaaz is 100% funded by small online donations from its members, and has been for almost a decade. We take no money from governments, corporations, foundations or large donors and have a donation cap of 5000 euros. It's hilarious to see these billionaire funded candidates and newspapers attacking our funding when we have literally the cleanest funding base in the world. If any of them are willing to make their accusations directly and squarely, we'll be happy to sue them for libel and let the courts teach them the truth," added Nicotra.

Avaaz Promises to Call Off Campaign if Berlusconi Ends Coalition

To make clear that this isn't a left/right issue, Avaaz has simultaneously announced that it will end its campaign if Berlusconi's Forza Italia ends its coalition with the extreme right. While this is unlikely before the next election, such an election may not result in a stable government, and the parties will have an opportunity to reassess their alliances.

Further Details on the Campaign

There are about 50 races where the gap between the first and the second candidate is just a few thousand votes*. One of the closest and most symbolic races, which prompted the far-right attacks, is for the Senate seat in Roma Gianicolense where civil rights champion Emma Bonino and Family Day promoter Iadicicco from Brothers of Italy are both projected at 34%.

Other super close races could decide if Binetti, who thinks homosexuality is an illness, wins or if the Northern League candidate Patassini wins in Macerata.

The next page includes a list of the closest races where Avaaz is running campaigns.

*The Avaaz district selection is based on a series of sources, mainly the Quorum/YouTrendsimulations and those elaborated by Prof. Stefano Vassallo for La Repubblica.

About Avaaz:

Avaaz is a people-powered movement with 46-million subscribers in nearly every country in the world. We campaign on a range of issues like climate change and human rights.

ENDS

Media Contact: For interviews, contact Luca Nicotra luca@avaaz.org +39 3403289238

The closest races in the Senate that Avaaz campaigns on:

 

Roma - Gianicolense: Bonino (+Europa) 34% vs Iadicicco (FdI) 34%

Roma - Portuense: Maturani (PD) 33% vs Binetti (NCI) 32%

Siracusa - Pisani (M5S) 37% vs Muti (Forza Italia) 35%

Sassari - Bogo (M5S) 35% vs Moro (Lega) 33%

Roma - Tuscolano: Cacciamani (FDI) 33% vs Pastorelli (Insieme) 31%

Roma - Collatino: Iavinia (FDI) 34% vs Quinto (PD) 30%

Torino 1 - Mauro Laus (Partito Democratico) 33% Gobetti (Lega) 33%

Nuoro -  Fenu Emiliano (M5S) 33% vs Palermo Lorenzo (Lega) 33%

Ancona -  Piergiorgio Carrescia (PD) 3% vs Pazzaglini (Lega Nord) 31%

 

The closest races in the House that Avaaz campaigns on:

 

Roma - Collatino: Sanmauro (PD) 31% vs Polverini (FI) 31%

Napoli Fuorigrotta - Schifone (FdI) 35% vs Fico (M5S) 33%

Roma - Montesacro: Madia (PD) 34% vs Bellucci (FDI) 33%

Milano 13 - Molteni (Lega) 38% vs Quartapelle (PD) 34%

Venezia - Pellicani (PD) 33% vs Andreuzza (Lega ) 32%

Torino 3 - Montaruli (FDI) 33% vs Bragantini (PD) 32%

Macerata - Tullio (Lega) 33% vs Corradini (PD) 30%

Bari - Rosselli (FI) 35% vs Lattazio (M5S) 33%

Foligno - Bocci (PD) 32% vs Marchetti (Lega) 32%

Terni - Damiano (PD) 32% vs Nevi (FI) 32%

La Spezia - Caleo (PD) 31% vs Gagliardi (FI) 31%

Gorizia - Brandolin (PD) 32% vs Pettarin (FI) 32%

Agrigento - Sodano (M5S) 37% vs Pisano (FdI) 37%

Cagliari - Mura (M5S) 35% vs Cappellacci (FI) 34%

Trento - Franzoia (PD) 36% vs Zanotelli (Lega) 34%

Rovereto - Nicoletti (PD) 36% vs Cattoi (Lega) 34%

Campobasso - Antonio (M5S) 34% vs Romagnuolo (Lega) 32%