Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018
ROME

Renzi ready for PD leadership challenge

English
© ANSA

Rome, April 22 - Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi has
said he is ready to challenge for the leadership of the
Democratic Party (PD) in order to change the chaos-hit
centre-left party and Italy as a whole.
The PD is in turmoil after Pier Luigi Bersani stepped down
as party secretary following internal revolts that scuppered the
chances of two candidates he had proposed to be Italy's head of
state last week.
That forced PD, the biggest party in parliament after
February's inconclusive general election, to ask 87-year-old
President Giorgio Napolitano to agree to serve a second term as
it seemed incapable of uniting behind any other candidate.
Napolitano became Italy's first president to be re-elected
on Saturday after winning the votes of lawmakers and regional
representatives of the PD, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People
of Freedom (PdL) party, the Northern League and outgoing Premier
Mario Monti's Civic Choice group.
"My ambition is to change Italy and change a party that
reflects its centre," Renzi said in an interview in Monday's
edition of Rome-based daily La Repubblica.
The PD, which came first in February's vote but failed to
win a working majority in the Senate after Bersani conducted a
colourless campaign, is expected to be headed by a committee of
caretaker leaders until a congress is held later in the year to
elect a new secretary.
Renzi, a telegenic 38-year-old who has been compared to the
young Tony Blair and came second in the centre-left's
premier-candidate primary in December, is currently the
country's most popular politician, according to opinion polls.
But he is viewed with suspicion by many in the PD itself
after a long campaign for the old guard of Italian politics to
be "scrapped".
Lawmakers close to him led the rebellion against the first
presidential candidate Bersani proposed, former Senate Speaker
Franco Marini.
He also publicly criticised Bersani's handling of Italy's
post-election impasse many times.
Bersani failed in a bid to reach out to the
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which holds the
balance of power in the Senate.
He also refused to consider forming a broad coalition
government with the PdL, while at the same time rejecting calls
for another vote, saying that this would be equally inconclusive
under the current election law.
Renzi, on the other hand, said the PD should have opened
talks with Berlusconi or called for a snap election.
The Florence mayor said he was ready to present a project
for "new reformism" to the party.
"The PD is in a corner," he added. "It either comes out of
it or it will blow up".
The PD is now expected to support a so-called government of
the president, which would also be backed by the PdL, Civic
Choice and possibly the Northern League, with a limited mandate
to pass some key reforms, including a new electoral law.
However, there is speculation that some PD left-wingers are
opposed to having any sort of cooperation with Berlusconi and
may split from the party if it takes part in such a broad
coalition government.

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