Calenda backs out of PD pact, Meloni claims premiership if party wins

Giorgia Meloni, "If Brothers of Italy win, the premiership is mine."

 ROME – In the lead-up to the Sept 25 elections, Carlo Calenda, leader of Azione, backed out of the election pact with the Democratic Party (PD) on Sunday. With a centre-left coalition hanging on by a thread, Giorgia Meloni of post-fascist Brothers of Italy has claimed on Sunday that it would be her to take the Prime Minister role, should her party receive more votes.

 Italy’s political landscape once again took a favourable swing to the right, as the PD suffered a hit ahead of the early elections after Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi's resignation. Five days after signing, Calenda pulled out of their election agreement, making way for the right-wing alliance led by Meloni to rise up the ranks to power. Calenda and Enrico Letta of the PD had pledged to follow a "Draghi agenda" were they elected, continuing where he would have left off. 

 Azione’s leader claimed he had been forced to withdraw from the pact after the PD made an alliance with left-wing parties, including the radical Italian Left and new party, Green Europe, as well as former Five Star member, Luigi di Maio’s new party, Civic Commitment. 

 He justified his decision to RAI 3 on Sunday, claiming that “This coalition was made to lose. The choice was made by the Democratic party. I cannot go where my conscience doesn’t take me.” He expressed his disdain to stand alongside parties who had voted no confidence in Draghi’s government 54 times in July, and consequently saw no other choice but to back out. 

 Following Calenda's withdrawal, Letta took to Twitter to criticise him, writing that "It seems to me after everything he said that the only possible ally for Calenda is Calenda," adding that Calenda’s move “consigns the country to the right."

 Celebrating the path this disarray cleared for the right, Matteo Salvini of the League tweeted: "Chaos and free-for-all on the left!" 

 Meloni, in similar sentiments, gleefully spoke of a "new twist in the soap opera that is the centre-left."

  The collapse of the centre-left coalition came as Meloni continues to rise in opinion polls, tipped to be the first Italian female Prime Minister in September's looming elections, alongside Salvini’s far-right League and former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Salvini repeated on Tuesday that Meloni would take the premiership if her party gets one more vote than the League, which currently seems very likely. 

 In recent opinion polls, the PD fared 33.6 percent with a 46.4 percent for the right. A PD and Five Star Movement coalition is "out of the question," according to Letta, after the tumultuous political climate that ensued after the Five Star's boycott of the confidence vote in July.