Italy's Matteo Renzi to form new party after exiting Democratic Party
The former prime minister of Italy has parted ways with the Democratic Party, saying it lacked vision for the future. His decision could destabilize a coalition government between PD and the populist 5-Star Movement.
Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Tuesday announced his decision to leave the center-left Democratic Party (PD) to form his own centrist-leaning party in a move that could destabilize Rome's new government.
"After seven years of friendly fire I think we must take note that our values, our ideas, our dreams, cannot every day be the object of internal quarrels," Renzi said in a Facebook post.
But Renzi said he plans to "build together with others a new house to do politics differently" just two weeks after PD joined forces with their political foes, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S).
The previous government comprising M5S and the far-right League party collapsed after former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the League, had attempted to trigger elections by withdrawing support for Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. M5S joined forces with PD to avoid snap elections.
PD leader Nicola Zingaretti described Renzi's decision as "an error," saying he didn't support it. "Now we must think about the future of Italians," Zingaretti said in a tweet. "A new agenda and the need to rebuild hope with good governance and a new PD."
Read more: Italy's M5S: From League allies to Democratic partners
Renzi is a divisive figure in Italian politics. He continued to hold sway within PD even after he resigned as prime minister in the wake of a failed 2016 referendum on overhauling Italy's political system. He also led the PD to record victories and defeats in 2014 and 2018 respectively.
In an interview with Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica, Renzi said around 30 PD lawmakers plan to join him in establishing a new political movement. He said PD lacked a vision for the future, something he wanted to rectify with his yet-to-be-named party.
Renzi noted that he would continue to support the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, saying: "The victory we got in parliament against populism and (far-right leader Matteo) Salvini was important to save Italy, but it's not enough."
Read more: Italy: Salvini is out, but migrants still endure his policies
Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.
Last Easter, in an attempt to soften his image as he eyed a return to politics, Berlusconi took part in an ad promoting vegetarianism that featured him snuggling lambs in soft lighting overlaid with easy listening music. Although Berlusconi is barred from seeking office for another year due to a fraud conviction, a bloc led by his Forza Italia party has been polling strongly.
Berlusconi is well known for offensive remarks and belittling women, so it's no surprise he did both in one go on the campaign trail. Earlier in February, he told a BBC journalist that her handshake was too manly; "Otherwise men will think, this one is going to beat me up, and no one will marry you."
Matteo Salvini of the far-right Northern League came up with a humble publicity stunt – whoever likes his Facebook posts can win a chance to take a picture with "the captain", talk to him on the phone, or meet in private. He was lambasted on social media and by Italy's La Repubblica daily, which wrote: "The captain? Even Silvio Berlusconi in his golden age would envy this kind of self-regard."
If ex-PM Matteo Renzi was hoping to make a big splash with this tepid ad in which — surprise! — he shows up on a bike and tells a family to "think about" voting for him, then he was certainly successful. Just not perhaps in the way he wanted. The staggeringly lackluster TV spot was parodied countless times on social media.
Luigi di Maio of Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) has repeatedly used his age of only 31 to try and connect with younger voters and is prolific on social media. One of his most cringeworthy attempts to relate to millennial voters came in a video he posted to Instagram in which he said M5S would make Italy "fly high," before "flying" himself in an entertainment complex.
After the US election, the Pope warned about the spread of fake news in Italy and its undue influence. He called untrue, sensational stories "the greatest damage the media can do," in an interview with the Catholic weekly Tertio. "I think the media...must not fall into – no offense intended – the sickness of coprophilia," he said, using a more polite term for an abnormal interest in faeces.
Comedian and pundit John Oliver brought the tumultous Italian election to the attention of a wider audience in one of his famous TV segments, skewering Berlusconi. Oliver's solution to Italy's unwieldy democracy? Encouraging Italian lawmakers to appoint him: "Incredibly, I am far from your worst option," he joked while cuddling a lamb.
ls/ (dpa, AFP)