Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

Italy's centre-left PD to hold MP-candidate primaries


Rome, December 12 - The centre-left Democratic
Party (PD) said Wednesday that it will hold primaries to select
its candidates to be members of parliament in the upcoming
Italian general election.
The PD is favourite to win the elections, which look set to
take place in mid-to-late February, as it leads in the polls,
with around 30% of people surveyed saying they intend to vote
for it.
The party's strong current position in the polls was helped
by the successful recent primary in which PD leader Pier Luigi
Bersani was selected as the centre left's premier candidate.
Over three million people voted in the first round and
around 2.8 million participated in the runoff between Bersani
and Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi in a contest hailed as a victory
for democracy inside the PD.
It was also portrayed as a signal that Italy's party system
does have a healthy side after questions were raised about the
political class's effectiveness when it had to resort to letting
an administration of unelected technocrats take over power under
Premier Mario Monti last year to steer the country away from the
centre of the eurozone crisis.
A series of corruption scandals hitting parties from
various parts of the party spectrum has also contributed to
widespread skepticism.
"If the elections take place on February 17, we'll hold the
primaries on December 29-30," said Enrico Letta, the deputy
leader of the PD.
"On Monday the party executive will settle the details, but
we have decided to call on millions of citizens, on the basis of
the primary of November 25, to choose our parliamentarians.
"We want to keep playing in attack because that's how you
win the elections".
Part of the logic of holding MP primaries is that it will
give back voters the power to select their representatives that
has been taken away from them by the current much-criticised
election law.
Under the current system, voters cannot express preferences
about which of the candidates on any given party list they want
to go to parliament. They can only vote for the party itself.
This means party bosses effectively decide who will go to
parliament by setting the order in which candidates feature on
the lists.
Negotiations between parties on a new election law broke
down this year and the parties look set to go to the polls with
the old system, even though almost everyone accepts it is

photo: PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani.

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