Di Maio looks to the left, Renzi's long goodbye?
ROME – The Democratic Party (PD) was in uproar on Tuesday after the party secretary, Matteo Renzi, resigned from the helm of the party but refused to relinquish control until a new government was formed as Italy’s leading parties began talks to decide on a future government.
Reports had surfaced on Monday morning that Renzi’s resignation was imminent and a press conference scheduled in the Via Nazareno headquarters of the party at 5pm. However, the conference was then delayed by more than an hour with uncertainty swirling about the nature of the speech.
Renzi finally emerged, arguing that it was “necessary for the PD to open a new page” and that he would “leave the leadership.”
Tensions, nonetheless, flared in the party over Renzi’s decision to delay stepping down from the party until a new government is formed.
Luigi Zanda, the veteran leader of the Democratic group in the Senate was baffled by the decision. “The decision of Matteo Renzi to resign and, at the same time, to put off the put of the resignation is incomprehensible,” Zanda concluded.
“It only serves to take yet more time,” he continued. “And when you decide to give a resignation, you give them without manoeuvres. When Veltroni and Bersani resigned, they just did it and enough. One minute after they were no longer secretaries.”
Renzi argued that he wouldn’t be cutting any deals. “We will be in opposition,” he stated, “the PD will never be the crutch of a government of anti-system forces.” His allies in the party likewise rallied to his side, with Michele Anzaldi calling Zanda’s comments “polemic without sense.”
On Tuesday morning, Renzi denied he would be leading the dealings for the party in the coming months, saying that “I will not guide it, I am going skiing.”
Meanwhile the initial moves in forming Italy’s next government got under way with the Five Star Movement (M5S) looking towards members of the Democratic Party (PD), according to La Repubblica, despite Renzi’s assurances to the contrary.
M5S appear confident that they can strike a deal. Luigi Di Maio, M5S’s 31-year-old leader, took to the stage on Monday following the election result to announce that a “Third Republic” had been born, led by “the citizens.”
Di Maio is said to have offered the position of speaker of the Lower House of parliament to the PD. However, M5S have spelt out that the deal must exclude Matteo Renzi, and even other members of the previous government.
Some form of agreement between M5S and various factions on the left still looks more likely than a deal with Italy’s other populist force, the right-wing Northern League, according to Il Messaggero. The gap in the basic themes of each party is seen as a barrier to a deal, though M5S have said they are open to negotiations with all parties.
Beppe Grillo, M5S’s founder, continued to sound warnings from the margins of the party about possible deals. “The names of our ministers,” he argued, “are not an advertisement. It is the observance of a promise.”