Matteo Renzi tipped to resign with reputation in freefall
ROME - Reports emerged in the Italian media on Monday that the Democratic Party (PD) secretary, Matteo Renzi, was set to resign at a press conference on Monday afternoon after he led the party to a disatrous slump in the polls.
The PD, the current party of government, was projected to receive less than 20 percent of the vote, a remarkable fall from the party's height in 2013-4 period. Indeed, in the European elections of 2014, the PD received over 40 percent of the votes, over twice the size of their current projected slice of the electorate.
Renzi had stated before the vote that even if they lost he would remain as party secretary, saying he would see put his term until 2021. However, the results from voting on Sunday have appeared even worse than expected, with the party only clinging on to a majority in their historic strongholds.
On Sunday night, Renzi seemed to brush aside questions on the outcome, stating "if I come out of it alive, it's fine." However, throughout the campaign he struggled to generate any traction with the electorate and his standing in the public eye now appears to be in freefall.
The PD secretary still managed to hold onto his senate seat in Florence winning over 40 percent of the vote. However, he came in for criticism from one of the party's old guard, Luciano Violante, who said the decimation of the PD "was predictable."
"I think that, as happened with the consititutional referendum," Violante stated in comments to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, "the negative opinion of the electorate wasn't concerned with the government, as much as it did the party and the leader."
Marco Agnoletti, spokesperson for the PD, contested the reports of Renzi's resignation that first appeared in the Italian associated press, ANSA, stating that Renzi had made no decision as of yet and would talk to various party members. However, Agnoletti confirmed on Twitter that "the party secretary will speak today in the afternoon at 17.00."