Testy politicians: Italy’s ruling party

Leaders of Italy’s ruling Democratic Party (PD) will meet on Monday to discuss election strategy amid rumours of an internal

Photo: Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse

Photo: Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse

Leaders of Italy’s ruling Democratic Party (PD) will meet on Monday to discuss election strategy amid rumours of an internal rift.

Keen to get back into power, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had stated his preference for fresh elections to be called ahead of the 2018 deadline – perhaps as early as June. But another former PM, Massimo D’Alema, has threatened to break away from the PD if early elections are called, taking the influential left wing of the party with him. A recent poll suggested that D’Alema’s exit would reduce the party’s support by around half, prompting Mr Renzi to back away from his position.

Meanwhile, Italians are increasingly dissatisfied with a stagnating economy, political infighting and high levels of irregular immigration, leading many to abandon the centre-left party in favour of the populist Five Star Movement. Polling data suggests the Movement is currently Italy’s most popular party, although would find it difficult to forge a ruling coalition if elections were called today.

The PD must tread carefully if it wants to retain power; a split would be devastating, both for the party and possibly for Europe.

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