Love Me Less, Vote Me More

by Jennifer Garcia

As one of Italy’s best-known female politicians, Emma Bonino has played a role in politics for more than 40 years, winning the public’s heart with her lively personality. Public opinion polls show her approval ratings reaching as high as 43%, coming in second only to prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni.

She is often mentioned as a candidate for Italy’s presidency despite the mostly male Parliament. However, she often surprisingly comes short in actual elections. She has never had enough votes needed to merit a seat in Parliament. High spirited, she has called on the public to, “Love me less, vote me more.”

Perhaps it’s the popular causes, such as complex family and gender laws, she champions that cause her lack of votes but garner her public support. Bonino regularly utilizes acts of civil disobedience, hunger strikes and campaigns, to sway the public’s opinion on abortion, divorce, and family laws; a difficult task in a predominately Catholic country. She also tackles subjects of integration and supports undocumented immigrants arriving in Italy.

Emma Bonino has little concern about the popularity of issues she advocates for, “Our ambition is to carry out what we promise, even saying things that don’t appear to be too popular.”