Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018

Support swells for Renzi to be premier


(see related stories on political situation)
Rome, April 23 - Support was swelling on Tuesday
for Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, the rising star of the
crisis-hit centre-left Democratic Party (PD), to be given a
mandate by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to form a new
But many of the calls came from the centre right rather
than the PD itself, which is without a leader after Pier Luigi
Bersani quit as secretary at the weekend after two candidates he
proposed to be president were scuppered by internal rebellions.
Napolitano, who reluctantly agreed to serve a second term
after the parties failed to elect a successor, is likely to ask
a PD member to try to lead a new government, as it is the
biggest party in parliament after February's inconclusive
general election.
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 Renzi, who has said he wants to become premier by
winning elections and not by agreement among the powers-that-be,
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.
Furthermore, Renzi also refused to join in the vilification
of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, whom he met in private
This may be part of the reason why many in the centre left
look on him favourably to lead a broad coalition government
Napolitano wants to see to end two months of political paralysis
amid a social and economic crisis caused by Italy's longest
recession in 20 years.
"My personal opinion is that giving a mandate to Matteo
Renzi to form a new government would be in line with the demand
for change that is rising in the country," said former culture
minister Sandro Bondi, a senior member of Berlusconi's People of
Freedom (PdL) party.
Renzi's attacks on Bersani have led some in the PD to say
he is putting his personal ambitions above the good of the
But he also has supporters who say he is a voice of change
and argue it is laudable that his outspoken nature shows he is
transparent about his views.
Renzi announced before the the first vote to elect the
head of State that lawmakers and regional representatives close
to him would not back Marini.
The second candidate Bersani proposed, ex-premier Romano
Prodi, was sunk by rebels who gave no indication before the
ballot that they would not support the party line.
"I think Renzi is the right name (to be premier) and I
don't understand why he shouldn't," said Debora Serracchiani,
who gave the PD some respite from its internal woes on Monday by
winning regional elections in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
"I said this a month and a half ago and was blasted by my
party," added the 42-year-old new governor of the north-eastern
"At the moment he is the person who is capable of capturing
the greatest level of support, as he manages to speak beyond the
boundaries of the PD and he can probably best represent the
demands of an electorate that is now mixed.
"They don't have deep-rooted ideologies any more and they
don't just vote left any more, they simply vote for the people".

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