The Strategist

Renzi aims to become Prime Minister of Italy

05/02/2017 - 15:08

Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won the primaries and thus made an important step towards returning to the chair left six months ago. "We start from scratch. This is not a revenge or the second half of the next match", commented Mr. Renzi. "The whole party won, especially those who were not ashamed of what we did over the years".

Alex Valli via flickr
Alex Valli via flickr
Nearly two million people took part in the primaries, even despite the fact that forecasts expected that no more than a million people to vote on Sunday before the May 1 holiday. Anyone could give his vote for the future DP leader, even without being recorded in the party. To compare, 2.8 million people took part in the previous inner-party elections back in 2013.

Recall that in December 2016, Matteo Renzi resigned immediately from two posts - Prime Minister of Italy and the leader of the Democratic Party. This happened after his constitutional reform failed in a referendum. Nevertheless, the former Prime Minister did not give up his dream of returning to power.

Mr. Renzi’s reckoning was successful, and it was rather easy to him to win over his opponents - the Minister of Justice Andrea Orlando and the Governor of the region Apulia Michele Emiliano. Among other things, Matteo Renzi took an advantage of high activity of his supporters. The voting attracted 2 million people in bars and street tents. Having gained 71% of the vote, the politician not only confirmed his role as a key figure in Italy's largest party, but also became a candidate for the post of Prime Minister.

Parliamentary elections, which will be a new test for Matteo Renzi, are scheduled for the first half of 2018. According to a poll conducted in March by Ipsos research center, Mr. Renzi's party is still inferior in ratings to the populist movement "Five Stars" - 26.8% against 32.3%, respectively.

Renzi won with such a margin as he did not have worthy opponents, a professor of the University of Bologna Gianfranco Pasquino is convinced. The Culture Minister, Dario Franceschini, could compete with him, but he preferred to wait to remain in sight and take up the post of Prime Minister if Renzi displaces incumbent Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni before the elections. Renzi now has full control over the party, the expert continues: "Now he just has to clean up the disobedient and "normalize" those few parliamentarians who want to keep a bit of independence for themselves. However, his victory in the parliamentary elections, although possible, is not guaranteed. In 2013, he was supported by 1.7 million comrades-in-arms in the inner-party elections, and this time there are 400,000 fewer".  

The Italians have changed their minds, and Renzi rose in opinion of of voters after several months of existence of the technical government, a researcher of the Institute of International Relations in Rome, says Eleonora Poli. In addition, is experiencing a small economic growth as a result of the reforms initiated by Renzi, she recalls: "The only alternative to Renzi for both the party and ordinary voters today is the "Five Stars". Renzi is not ruling now, and now it is he who can be critical of both the government and the parliament, in which the populists occupy the sixth part of the seats". The "Five Stars" opposes the elite and corruption and is well-established in the opposition, but they are led by their one-sided agenda and inability to take advantage of the power they received, Poli believes: "They can criticize everyone, but they've already got to power, and the Italians see that this is not working out. Look at Rome, whose mayor is from the "Five Stars": they cannot even cope with the city". 


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