Vincenzo De Luca
|15th President of Campania|
|Assumed office |
18 June 2015
|Preceded by||Stefano Caldoro|
|Mayor of Salerno|
15 June 2006 – 3 February 2015
|Preceded by||Mario De Biase|
|Succeeded by||Vincenzo Napoli|
6 December 1993 – 15 May 2001
|Preceded by||Mario Laurino|
|Succeeded by||Mario De Biase|
22 May 1993 – 2 July 1993
|Preceded by||Vincenzo Giordano|
|Succeeded by||Antonio Lattarulo|
|Member of the Chamber of Deputies|
30 May 2001 – 28 April 2008
|Born||8 May 1949|
Ruvo del Monte, Italy
|Political party||PCI (before 1991)|
PD (since 2007)
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
(m. 1979; div. 2008)
|Domestic partner||Maria Maddalena Cantisani|
Vincenzo De Luca (born 8 May 1949) is an Italian politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he is serving as president of Campania since 18 June 2015. De Luca also served as mayor of Salerno for more than 17 years, becoming one of the longest serving mayors in Italy.
De Luca has often been described as a populist politician and became known for his controversial statements. He is nicknamed Lo Sceriffo ("The Sheriff"), due to his outspokenly impetuous and strong government style, and also Don Vicienzo.
De Luca was born in 1949 in Ruvo del Monte, in the Province of Potenza. He then moved to Salerno at an early age alongside his family. After obtaining a high school diploma at the Liceo classico Torquato Tasso of Salerno, he graduated in philosophy at the University of Salerno. Before entering in politics, he worked as a philosophy teacher in high schools.
In 1979, De Luca married Rosa Zampetti, a sociologist, from who he had two sons Piero and Roberto, who are both involved in politics. Piero is serving as a member of the Chamber of Deputies, while Roberto served as a regional responsible for economy in the Democratic Party (PD) of Campania.
During the 1970s, De Luca became a member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), at the time led by Enrico Berlinguer. In 1975, after having been head of the party's provincial organization, he was appointed as provincial secretary, leading the federation for a decade. In those years, he was jokingly nicknamed O Professore (Neapolitan for "The Professor") because of his job as a philosophy teacher. Due to his impetuous and strong style, De Luca was also nicknamed "Pol Pot", just like the Cambodian Communist dictator.
De Luca was elected to the Salerno city council in 1990, holding the posts of both Commissioner of Public works and Deputy Mayor. In the spring of 1993, he was promoted to the office of mayor of Salerno due to the resignation of Vincent Giordano, who found himself involved in the ongoing Tangentopoli investigation. A month later, the resignation of the majority of councilors resulted in the dissolution of the municipal council. The subsequent elections marked a significant success of De Luca's Progressive List for Salerno, with 57.8% of votes in a second ballot against Giuseppe Acocella, of the centre-right coalition. On 16 November 1997, De Luca was re-elected mayor in the first round with 71.3% of the vote.
Not being able to run for a third term as mayor, De Luca resigned in order to run for a parliamentary seat in the 2001 Italian general election. On 31 May 2001, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies with a percentage of 55.4% of the votes, the highest one obtained by a candidate of The Olive Tree coalition in Southern Italy. After the 2006 Italian general election, De Luca was re-elected at the Chamber of Deputies and was appointed as a member of the Agriculture Commission.
During the 2006 Italian local elections, De Luca was re-elected as mayor of Salerno for a third term after a run-off election, gaining 56.9% of the ballots. He ran as the candidate of the centre-left list Progressives for Salerno, in opposition to Alfonso Andria, the member of the European Parliament supported by The Daisy, and some members of the Democrats of the Left, which were against De Luca's candidacy due to his strong dissent towards the party regional president Antonio Bassolino. In the 2008 Italian general election, he was unable to run due to the incompatibility provided by law between the offices of member of Parliament and mayor of a city with more than 15,000 inhabitants. While in office, De Luca was one of the most popular mayor in Italy.
On 30 January 2010, De Luca announced his candidacy to become president of Campania in the 2010 Campania regional election. His centre-right coalition rival Stefano Caldoro, a former minister and leader of the New PSI (a party that merged into Silvio Berlusconi's The People of Freedom in 2009) won by a convincing margin, thanks to a 20% swing in favor of the centre-right coalition, which included the Union of the Centre led by Ciriaco De Mita, an influential former leader of Christian Democracy. In 2011, De Luca was re-elected for a fourth term as mayor of Salerno with 74.42% of votes.
On 31 May 2015, De Luca was elected president of Campania in the 2015 Campania regional election, with 41% of the votes, defeating incumbent president Stefano Caldoro with a margin of 66,000 votes. He was reconfirmed in his position at the 2020 Campania regional election, which he won with 68% of the votes.
De Luca is well known for making hyperbolic statements, a behavior that was brought to national attention during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. On 20 March 2020, he threatened to send Carabinieri "with flamethrowers" after those organizing graduation parties. On 16 October, in explaining the decision to impose a curfew, he urged Campanians not to celebrate Halloween, calling it a "huge stupid Americanism". His statements, made in jest but with a serious tone and purpose, have been described by Corriere della Sera as "comic" and "uncouth". Notably, Italian software house DigiLabSoftware satirized De Luca's statements with some HTML browser games freely playable on their website, which attracted some press attention.
In November 2021, De Luca was investigated for corruption regarding a scandal involving the maintenance of city streets, public greenery and parks of Salerno. As reported by Corriere della Sera, the public prosecutor denounced the presence of a so-called "cartel", composed of eight cooperatives, which rigged the public procurements' tenders.
The problem of incompatibility, latent since the establishment of the Government Letta, could explode on the situation of the Undersecretary for transport mayor of Salerno.[dead link]