Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
ROME

Renzi, Bersani clash over alliances before primary runoff

English
© ANSA

Rome, November 29 - Democratic Party (PD) leader
Pier Luigi Bersani and Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi clashed over
election alliances in a televised debate ahead of Sunday's
centre-left primary run-off.
The winner of the primary has a good chance of being
Premier Mario Monti's successor as the PD are leading in the
opinion polls ahead of next spring's national elections.
Both candidates pledged to broadly continue with the
policies Monti's emergency technocrat government has pursued to
enable Italy to move out of the centre of the eurozone crisis.
"I think we all feel we have to go a little beyond the Monti
experience, without renouncing discipline or credibility... but
also seek a bit more fairness and more work," Bersani said.
Renzi, a 37-year-old who presents himself as a modernizer,
was seen by many pundits as giving the more assured display in
Wednesday's debate.
This will not necessarily enable him to overcome the 9%
deficit he had when he finished second to Bersani in the first
round of the primary, in which three other candidates also ran.
Renzi was seen by many as having performed best too in a
five-way debate before the first round.
Wednesday's discussion was mostly calm and amicable,
although there were moments of tension, especially over the
alliances the PD may form before the election.
Renzi was critical of Bersani's pledge to seek alliances
with centrist parties, having already agreed to run with the
leftwing SEL party.
He said this would create the risk of having a repeat of
the sort of internal rifts that dogged Romano Prodi's 2006-2008
centre-left government, which relied on the support of a broad
alliance of squabbling parties.
Bersani, a 61-year-old former industry minister and ex
member of Italy's Communist party, warned his rival not to use
"the arguments of the opponent".
Another area of dispute was pension reform.
Renzi said he would not try to reverse changes, including
increases in the retirement age, introduced by Monti's
government.
Bersani said this pension reform could be "perfected" in
several ways, citing the problem of thousands of so-called
esodati (the exiled) - people who accepted severance packages
ahead of retirement but have been left without a pension because
of government changes to the system.
Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL)
party was scheduled to have a primary to choose its premier
candidate on December 16, although this now looks unlikely to
happen because of the ex-premier's reservations.
Berlusconi has said he is reconsidering his decision not to
stand for a fourth term and the party is in a state of
confusion, amid reports that it may split up.
The PdL, the biggest party in parliament at the moment,
has dropped to third in the opinion polls after a series of
corruption scandals hitting top centre-right politicians in Rome
and Milan.

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