Italy’s centre-left seeks to regroup at party conference after disastrous election

Italy’s centre-left seeks to regroup at party conference after disastrous election

Italy’s centre-left Democrats will hold a meeting today that could result in the selection of a new leader. The party

Partito Democratico

Photo: Partito Democratico

Italy’s centre-left Democrats will hold a meeting today that could result in the selection of a new leader.

The party congress comes after the general election defeat last month prompted the resignation of party leader and ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The Democrats—especially Renzi—have ruled out entering into government negotiations with the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and have pushed for going into opposition.

However, some dissenting voices in the party argue in favour of talks with the highly Eurosceptic M5S in a bid to prevent the centre-right bloc from gaining power.

Given the ongoing stalemate between the M5S and the centre-right bloc, the chances of the Democrats entering coalition talks will depend on who their new leader is. If a Renzi-loyalist becomes leader, the Democrats will remain in opposition. If someone like former Culture Minister Dario Franchescini becomes leader, talks with M5S would become more likely but not guaranteed.

Though the Italian government would remain Eurosceptic, as M5S would be the senior coalition partner, its stance would be softened should M5S govern with the Democrats rather than the  populist, right-wing League.

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