Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

Renzi ponders bid to lead centre-left Democratic Party


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, June 6 - Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi has said
he may change his mind after ruling out running for the
leadership of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the
biggest group in parliament, later this year.
The party will hold a congress in the autumn to elect a new
secretary after Pier Luigi Bersani quit the helm of the party in
April amid rifts that saw two of the PD's own candidates to be
Italian president scuppered by internal rebellions.
Renzi, a telegenic 38-year-old who has been compared to the
young Tony Blair, is the rising star of the PD and came second
to Bersani last year in the primary to select the centre-left's
premier candidate for February's general election.
But his share of the limelight has diminished since another
young PD man, Enrico Letta, was sworn in as premier in April
after being chosen by President Giorgio Napolitano to head an
unprecedented left-right administration and end two months of
political deadlock after the inconclusive vote.
Although Renzi is Italy's most popular politician after
Napolitano, according to opinion polls, he is viewed with
suspicion by many within his own party.
Some see his drive for the old guard of Italian politics to
be "scrapped" as motivated more by personal ambition than by a
desire for real change.
He was also a big critic of Bersani's handling of the
post-election impasse and has been accused of making mischief
for Letta after he warned the government not to dither over
institutional reforms to make Italy easier to govern and fix the
election law that failed to produce a clear winner in February.
"I'm tired of being described as the naughty boy trying to
find a post for myself, a man possessed with a passion for
power," Renzi said in an interview published Thursday by Italian
daily Corriere della Sera.
"If I'm needed, the party's mayors and the activists will
tell me.
"People who I respect a great deal advised me not to do it.
But now they are getting convinced (it's a good idea)".
He added that being Florence mayor and party secretary is
"not incompatible".
Renzi did admit that, given as he is a political
heavyweight who is widely seen as a future premier, his presence
at the helm of the PD could cause tension that might lead to the
collapse of Letta's government.
Nevertheless, Friuli-Venezia Giulia Governor Debora
Serracchiani, one of the PD's Young Turks, encouraged Renzi to
"If Matteo Renzi really intends to be a candidate to be the
PD's national secretary, I think he'll be an excellent
candidate," Serracchiani said.
"I don't know what he intends to do, but I think we need to
have the best candidates possible take the field".
Ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL)
party, which is backing Letta's executive, also looked
favourably on Renzi taking command of the centre-left group.
Renzi has frequently distanced himself from the way other
PD figures tried to demonize Berlusconi before the party ended
up joining forces with the PdL to form a government.
"An eventual bid by Matteo Renzi to be secretary of the PD
could open a true political dialectic within the PD for the
first time and, at the same time, represent an element of
clarity and stability for the whole political system," said PdL
Coordinator Sandro Bondi.
The PD has put Guglielmo Epifani, the former head of
Italy's largest trade union, the CGIL, in charge of the party
until the congress to elect a permanent leader.

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