For the first time in the Italian history, an openly gay politician, Nichi Vendola, has announced his intention to run for prime minister.
Vendola, leader of SEL, Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà, the left-wing party ‘for environment and freedom’, and governor of the southern Puglia region, has announced his candidacy for the 2013 elections, which will end Mario Monti’s government of ‘technocrats’.
Vendola’s decision comes after a meeting with Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the PD Partito Democratico party, in which they have spoken about ‘The Pole of Hope’, a coalition of political forces ‘wanting a better Italy’.
Vendola’s competitor could be three-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned in November because of the debt crisis and because of his bedroom antics which have grabbed headlines.
Bersani said: ‘We start to build the alternative to Italian politics. It’s time for change.’
Vendola, who wears an earring and is also passionate about philosophy, is Catholic and regularly goes to church. But he’s also been a gay activist and is against the imposition of religious rules on the everyday life.