Italy’s ruling party will discuss whether it should play the role of potential kingmaker following its defeat in inconclusive elections a week ago as it plots a course forward without former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The Democratic Party’s leadership will meet in Rome on Monday to acknowledge the resignation of Renzi, its general secretary. It will also begin discussion on a common stance ahead of talks on forming a governing coalition that will begin after the new parliament convenes in Rome on March 23.
The center-right bloc led by Matteo Salvini’s League and its rival, the Five Star Movement headed by Luigi Di Maio, have both reached out to the party about possible cooperation in a new cabinet. Neither has a majority in both houses of parliament, giving the PD a potential key role even after its position in both legislative houses was devastated in the election.
“The meeting is just the first step of a likely long process that will have to lead first to a successor to Renzi,” said Roberto D’Alimonte, a political science professor at Rome’s Luiss University. “As of today, it’s hard to guess who the new leader will be, let alone the party’s approach to the government-formation talks.”
Salvini has called on the center-left PD to “to give the country a way out”
of the political deadlock. Renzi, who stepped down last week, insists the party should go into opposition after its worst-ever election result.
Critics say the party doesn’t have have that luxury in a country in need of a government.
As many as 40 PD lawmakers, including some opposed to a pact with Di Maio’s Five Star, might be prepared to back a center-right program led by Salvini or another League figure, one of the officials said. That would still leave Salvini at least 10 votes short.
Five Star would see an attempt by center-right forces and the Democratic Party to form a government as “a resounding insult” to voters, Di Maio said on Facebook. The PD’s former chief whip in the lower house, Ettore Rosato, told RAI state television network that his party is willing to stay in opposition and called on Five Star and the League to form a government together.