Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Alfano favourite to succeed Berlusconi as PdL candidate

English
© ANSA

Rome, October 25 - Party Secretary Angelino Alfano
is favourite to be the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL)
party's candidate in elections next spring after Silvio
Berlusconi said he would not stand for a fourth term as Italian
premier.
Berlusconi said Wednesday that his party would hold
primaries in December to decide who will lead them to the polls.
So far former Veneto governor and minister Giancarlo Galan
and Daniela Santanche', an undersecretary in Berlusconi's last
government, have announced they will run in the primaries and
other candidates may well throw their hats into the ring.
Alfano is the front-runner though, thanks in no small
degree to Berlusconi seemingly making him his anointed heir last
year, when the media magnate had proclaimed the 41-year-old
party secretary.
Up to then Alfano had served as justice minister in
Berlusconi's third administration, which started in 2008 and ran
until the financial crisis led to its collapse last November.
He is widely seen as a moderate and someone who is open to
dialogue with the opposite side of the political spectrum.
This has not always been the case in recent years when the
centre left and centre right were often locked in bitter
slanging matches that have made cross-party compromise virtually
impossible.
Santanche, 51, is a fierce Berlusconi loyalist from the
right wing of the PdL.
Her chances of success may be hampered by friction caused
by her recent calls for all the senior levels of the PdL to be
fired following corruption scandals that have hit the party in
the regions of Lazio around Rome and Lombardy around Milan.
Galan is a Padua native who was governor of Veneto from
1995 to 2005 and agriculture minister and then culture minister
in Berlusconi's last government.
He is likely to have strong support in the wealthier
northern regions.
But Berlusconi said he was stepping down to make way for
the younger generation and, at 56, Galan may not fit the bill on
this front.
Some commentators have spoken of 35-year-old former youth
policies minister Giorgia Meloni as a potential candidate as she
could represent the face of renovation for the party.
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno, one of the first PdL members to
call for the party to hold primaries, was also seen a possible
runner, although he said on Thursday he would not stand because
he has a city to manage.
Whoever wins the primaries will have a challenge on his
hands to boost the PdL's fortunes before the next year's
elections, which must be held before May.
The party's ratings in the polls have been further hit by
the corruption scandals after its support was cut by Berlusconi
being forced to resign last year with the financial crisis
threatening to spiral out of control.
The PdL, the biggest group in parliament at the moment,
have slipped to third in the polls behind the centre-left
Democratic Party (PD) and comedian Beppe Grillo's
anti-establishment Five Star movement.

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