Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Centre-left primary winner Bersani vows to level with Italy

English
© ANSA

Rome, December 3 - Democratic Party (PD) leader
Pier Luigi Bersani said he will lead Italy's centre left to
victory at next spring's national elections without deceiving
voters about the tough choices ahead.
The PD have a significant lead in the polls so Bersani is
in a strong position to replace Premier Mario Monti next year
after a big win over Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi in Sunday's
centre-left primary runoff.
Bersani, a 61-year-old former minister, secured over 60% of
the votes cast.
Renzi, a 37-year-old who is also a PD member and presented
himself as a modernizer, captured around 39%.
"We have to raise the bar and win the elections without
telling fairy tales," said Bersani.
"Now the real battle starts," he added at a rally of
supporters.
"I ask you once again to give all the commitment and
conviction you have for this journey we take together.
"Here we don't have just one man, it's necessary to govern
with the people.
"Let's use strength, energy and a little good cheer, which
is a characteristic of our people. And let's have a little
serenity too.
"There's no need to get anxious or be afraid. We should be
relaxed, strong and determined".
Around 30% of voters intend to vote for the PD, according
to recent polls, so Bersani is tipped to win elections likely to
take place in March.
There are doubts, however, about whether Bersani will have
a working majority, in part because of the rise of comedian
Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is
second in the polls.
He has said he will try to reach out to centrist parties
although this task is made difficult by the fact that the PD has
already agreed to form an alliance with the left-wing SEL party.
Bersani, a veteran of Italy's former Communist party, paid
tribute to Renzi after some tense moments during the primary
campaign.
He said Renzi was a "precious resource" for attracting new
voters to the PD.
"I recognise that Renzi gave a strong presence and
freshness to the primaries," Bersani added.
"His contribution helped to give sense to them and make
them an authentic experience".
The run-up to Sunday's runoff was marred by a dispute over
whether Renzi had broken the rules for the primaries, because a
foundation linked to him took out allegedly misleading
advertising in the national press calling on people to vote.
Renzi's camp also said many people in Tuscany were not
allowed to vote on Sunday even though they should have been able
to.
But the younger man was gracious in defeat and rejected
speculation he could split from the Democratic Party (PD) to
form his own group after losing the primary.
"I'll be loyal to Bersani," Renzi said, admitting that he
had made mistakes in his campaign and said Bersani was the
"clear" winner.
The Florence mayor, who has aroused suspicion from some
members of the PD's rank and file for allegedly being too
business-friendly, also managed to joke about Sunday's outcome.
"I finally did something left-wing - I lost," he quipped.
He added that he would continue his campaign for the party
and for Italy's whole political arena to renew itself. Renzi has
made several calls for older figures from Italy's political
class to be "scrapped", including members of the PD.
This has led to him being portrayed at times as an
opportunist who is playing on this issue because of his youth.
"We tried to change the political world and we didn't
manage to," he said.
"Once we've shaken off the disappointment, we'll resume
the path we've taken. We have three things on our side -
enthusiasm, time and freedom".
Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL), which is
currently the biggest party in parliament but has dropped to
third in the polls, is in disarray.
The party was meant to hold a primary on December 16 to
select its premier candidate although this looks unlikely to
take place as the media magnate has said he is thinking of
coming out of political retirement and standing for a fourth
term as premier.

© Riproduzione riservata

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