Stefano Bonaccini
Stefano Bonaccini 2019.jpg
9th President of Emilia-Romagna
Assumed office
24 November 2014
Preceded byVasco Errani
President of the Conference of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces
In office
17 December 2015 – 9 April 2021
DeputyGiovanni Toti
Preceded bySergio Chiamparino
Succeeded byMassimiliano Fedriga
Personal details
Born (1967-01-01) 1 January 1967 (age 55)
Modena, Italy
Political partyDemocratic Party of the Left
Democrats of the Left
Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Sandra Notari

Stefano Bonaccini (born 1 January 1967) is an Italian politician and member of the Democratic Party (PD). He has been serving as the President of Emilia-Romagna since 24 November 2014.[1]

Despite having started his political career in the post-communist Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), Bonaccini has later assumed more social democratic and social liberal positions, becoming one of the main representatives of PD's reformist wing.[2][3][4]

Early political career

Stefano Bonaccini was born in Campogalliano, near Modena, on 1 January 1967, in a lower middle-class family. His father was a truck driver, while his mother worked in a factory.[5]

Bonaccini with Matteo Richetti and Vasco Errani in 2011
Bonaccini with Matteo Richetti and Vasco Errani in 2011

After attending the scientific lyceum, he started his political career during the 1980s, as a member of the peace movements.[6] Bonaccini later became a member of the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), heir of the Italian Communist Party. In 1990, he was appointed municipal assessor in the town of Campogalianno, where he lived. In 1993, he became provincial secretary of the Left Youth (SG), the PDS youth-wing. Two years later, in 1995, he was elected secretary of the PDS for Modena.[7] In 1998, he joined the newly formed Democrats of the Left (DS). From 1999 to 2006, he served as Modena's municipal assessor for public works, cultural heritage and historical city center.[8]

In 2007, he was appointed the provincial secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), the new centre-left party formed by the union between DS and the Christian leftist party, The Daisy (DL).[9] Two years later he was elected regional secretary of the PD for Emilia-Romagna.[10]

After the 2010 regional election, Bonaccini was elected regional councilor for the Democratic Party. During the legislature he became one of the closer advisors of incumbent governor Vasco Errani, who was ruling the region since 1999.[11] During these years, Bonaccini was widely considered as one of Errani's most probable successors. On 13 December 2013, he was appointed national coordinator for "Local Authorities" in the national secretariat of the PD, under the leadership of Matteo Renzi, who Bonaccini supported in the 2013 primary election.[12]

President of Emilia-Romagna (2014–present)

After the resignation of Emilia-Romagna's long-time President Errani, Bonaccini emerged as the most probable candidate for the presidency. However, he was initially challenged by the President of the Regional Council, Matteo Richetti. In September 2014, they were both under investigation for embezzlement. Richetti withdrew his candidacy, while Bonaccini decided to continue his campaign.[13] The two politicians would be later acquitted from all charges.[14]

On 28 September, Bonaccini won the centre-left primary election to become the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, with 60.9% of the votes against the former mayor of Forlì, Roberto Balzani.[15]

First term

On 23 November 2014, he won the regional election in Emilia-Romagna with 49.1% of the votes, defeating the centre-right candidate Alan Fabbri and becoming the 9th President of the region.[16]

On 20 July 2015, Bonaccini signed so-called the "Pact for Labour", a deal between regional government, trade unions and entrepreneurs, to relaunch employment in the region.[17] The Pact allocated, in almost five years, more than 22 billion euros.[18]

On 17 December 2015, Bonaccini was elected President of the Conference of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, replacing Piedmontese President Sergio Chiamparino, who resigned a few weeks before.[19] While on 12 December 2016, he was elected president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the largest organisation of local and regional governments in Europe.[20]

Since 2014, the regional government cut the waiting lists for patients and exams in health and opened many "health houses" for proximity medicine. Moreover Emilia-Romagna was the first region in Italy to abolish the so-called superticket and started a drastic reduction of the fees for the nests.[21]

In 2017 and 2018, Bonaccini's government implemented a policy aimed to increase the political and fiscal autonomy of Emilia-Romagna.[22] Bonaccini stated: "We have activated the path towards a greater regional autonomy to better face the challenges of change. We want an autonomy that respects the Constitution, national unity and solidarity between territories, which are principles that are absolutely inviolable for us, but capable of improving relations between central administration and local autonomies. Above all, we need an autonomy to strengthen investment planning, to streamline and simplify procedures, to make our services for citizens and businesses even more efficient and effective."[23]

During his first term, Emilia-Romagna lived a period of economic prosperity. Unemployment went down from 9% in 2014, to 4.8% in 2019, while the employment rate rose to 71%, the highest in the country.[24] The region was also the first one in Italy for GDP growth from 2014 to 2019[25] and the first region for export "per capita".[26]

2020 regional election

Main article: 2020 Emilia-Romagna regional election

Despite Emilia-Romagna having always been considered one of the "red regions" – a stronghold of left-wing parties since the end of the World War II – due to the right-wing surge in the country, the 2020 regional election was considered as the first competitive one in the history of the region.[27] Bonaccini was confirmed the centre-left candidate at the head of a coalition including the PD and its left-wing allies of Free and Equal (LeU) and Green Europe (EV), as well as More Europe (+Eu).[28][29] Bonaccini also launched a personal civic list, named "Bonaccini for President", which included, among others, members from Matteo Renzi's Italia Viva (IV), Carlo Calenda's Action and Federico Pizzarotti's Italia in Comune (IiC).[30]

Bonaccini during a rally in Bologna
Bonaccini during a rally in Bologna

The centre-right proposed Senator Lucia Borgonzoni, member of the League (Lega) and former undersecretary to cultural activities in Giuseppe Conte's first government.[31] The centre-right coalition included also Brothers of Italy (FdI), Forza Italia (FI) and Cambiamo! (C!).[32]

During the campaign, Bonaccini claimed the results achieved by his administration (including the "Pact for Labour" of 2015),[33] and proposed four priority points summed up into the slogan "A step forward": to create free kindergartens for all children in the region, to break down the waiting lists for health interventions and access times to first aid, to carry out preventive maintenance and safety of the regional territory, and to reduce the phenomenon of NEET.[34]

The electoral campaign was characterized by a massive presence of League's leader, Matteo Salvini, who aimed to win in Emilia-Romagna to tear down the government. However, his campaign led to the birth of the Sardines movement, a grassroots political movement,[35][36] which organized a series of peaceful demonstrations to protest against the right-wing surge in the country and, more specifically, against the political rhetoric of Salvini.[37]

On 26 January, Bonaccini was re-elected to a second term, with more than 51% of votes, against 43% of Borgonzoni.[38] The centre-left alliance scored particularly well in Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Ravenna, where Bonaccini approached or even overcame the 60% of votes.[39]

COVID-19 pandemic

In March 2020, Italy was severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic and Emilia-Romagna became one of the most affected regions. As of March 2021, Emilia-Romagna more than 276,000 cases and 10,000 deaths were confirmed.

On 4 March, when Emilia-Romagna's regional minister of health, Raffaele Donini, was declared positive for COVID-19,[40] Governor Bonaccini appointed Sergio Venturi as Extraordinary Commissioner for the emergency.[41] Venturi served as regional minister oh health from 2014 to 2020.[42]

On 9 March 2020, the government of Italy under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a national quarantine, restricting the movement of the population except for necessity, work, and health circumstances in the whole country.[43] On 16 March, Bonaccini imposed a strengthened quarantine on the municipality of Medicina, near Bologna, since it had developed an intense outbreak. People were not allowed to enter or exit the town for any reason.[44] While on 21 March, he closed supermarkets during the weekends.[45] On 18 May, the lockdown officially ended.[46]

On 1 November 2020, Bonaccini was tested positive to COVID-19, amid a pandemic resurgence in the country.[47] On 13 November, he was hospitalized with a bilateral pneumonia and discharged after a few days.[48]

In March 2021, when his region was heavily hit by a third wave of the pandemic, Bonaccini imposed red zones in the provinces of Bologna, Modena and in many municipalities through Romagna.[49]

Personal life

Stefano Bonaccini is married to Sandra Notari, a small business owner from Modena. They met the first time during a meeting between Modena's city council, of which Bonaccini served as assessor, and local business owners.[50] The couple has two daughters, Maria Vittoria and Virginia.[51]

Until 39 years old, Bonaccini played as a forward in many local football teams.[52] He is an avid supporter of Juventus FC and Modena Volley.[53]


Bonaccini I Government
Office Name Party
President Stefano Bonaccini PD
Vice President Raffaele Donini PD
Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Network
Minister of Budget and Equal Opportunities Emma Petitti PD
Minister of Health Policies Sergio Venturi Ind.
Minister of Productive Activities Palma Costi PD
Minister for European Policies, School, University and Labour Patrizio Bianchi Ind.
Minister of Defense, Civil Protection and Environment Paola Gazzolo PD
Minister for Tourism and Commerce Andrea Corsini PD
Minister of Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing Simona Caselli Ind.
Minister for Culture and Youth Policies Massimo Mezzetti PD
Bonaccini II Government
Office Name Party
President Stefano Bonaccini PD
Vice President Elly Schlein ERC
Minister for Welfare, International Cooperation and Youth Policies
Minister of Budget Paolo Calvano PD
Minister of Health Policies Raffaele Donini PD
Minister for Economic Development and Labour Vincenzo Colla Ind.
Minister of Defense, Civil Protection and Environment Irene Priolo PD
Minister for Infrastructures, Tourism and Commerce Andrea Corsini PD
Minister of Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing Alessio Mammi PD
Minister of Culture Mauro Felicori BP
Minister of Education Paola Salomoni Ind.
Minister of Territories, Mountains and Urbanization Barbara Lori PD

Electoral history

2014 Emilia-Romagna regional election
Candidate Party Coalition Votes %
Stefano Bonaccini PD Centre-left coalition 615,723 49.0
Alan Fabbri Lega Centre-right coalition 374,736 30.0
Giulia Gibertoni M5S 167,022 13.3
Others 97,777 7.7
Total 1,255,258 100.0
2020 Emilia-Romagna regional election
Candidate Party Coalition Votes %
Stefano Bonaccini PD Centre-left coalition 1,195,742 51.4
Lucia Borgonzoni Lega Centre-right coalition 1,014,672 43.6
Others 115,083 5.0
Total 2,325,497 100.0


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  4. ^ Regionali, Bonaccini: "Ripercussioni del voto sulla segreteria Pd? Si vedrà". E intanto fa campagna in Toscana, sempre più come leader nazionale, la Repubblica
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  6. ^ Biografia di Stefano Bonaccini
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  22. ^ Autonomia, la via dell’Emilia Romagna che ha bruciato Lombardia e Veneto. Senza spendere milioni per il referendum
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  24. ^ Numeri record per l'Emilia-Romagna: disoccupazione scesa al 4,8% e tasso di occupazione al 71,3%, il più alto nel Paese
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  26. ^ Emilia Romagna prima in Italia per export pro capite
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  28. ^ "Bonaccini si candida per secondo mandato". 24Emilia. 28 June 2018.
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  41. ^ Coronavirus Venturi, commissario per l’emergenza: «La socialità deve prendersi una pausa»
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