Ex-Prime Minister Renzi wants to protect Italy from the far-right government with a new alliance

Ex-Prime Minister Renzi wants to protect Italy from the far-right government with a new alliance

Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during a television appearance in February 2022.Image Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Im

Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has formed a new coalition with ex-minister Carlo Calinda with his Italia Viva party, to present a “pragmatic and serious alternative to the populist left and right” in the September elections. “Italy must avoid the populist nightmare and return to the dreams of good politics,” Renzi said at the presentation in Rome this week.

The Italian parliament was dissolved in late July after Prime Minister Mario Draghi submitted his resignation. Draghi was popular, and steered turbulent Italy onto a stable path, but three coalition parties failed to emerge in the confidence vote. Although Draghi retained the majority in the vote, he drew his own conclusions and resigned.

Far-right and anti-European

Draghi will remain the outgoing prime minister until the September 25 elections. Italy then goes to the polls to elect a new parliament, from which a new government must emerge. Currently, a far-right coalition is leading the Italian elections: Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia, Matteo Salvini’s Lega, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, together with 46 percent of the hypothetical vote. And neo-fascist Georgia Meloni is the leader of this alliance.

An extreme right-wing, anti-European government could create instability not only in Italy, but in Europe as well. As a third economy, Italy is very important to European prosperity. Immediately after Draghi announced his resignation, European stock markets plummeted. Moreover, Draghi has increasingly emerged as a leading force in Europe in the past year, after German Chancellor Merkel stepped down and French President Macron struggled with unpopularity at home. An inward-looking Italy could create a vacuum in European power.

Neither left nor right

Renzi wants to become the eldest by partnering with Azion to which Carlo Calenda belongs in the elections with his party, Italia Viva. Calenda was the Minister of Economic Development in the Renzi government (2014-2016). It is not yet known who will lead the party.

Kalinda and Renzi are unabashedly surfing the waves of Draghi’s popularity, with a pro-European mid-range that wants to be neither left nor right. “If you put your trust in us, we will prevent victory from the right or the left and we will continue with Draghi’s agenda,” Kalinda said in an interview with Reuters news agency.

Kalinda also says he wants to nominate Draghi as prime minister, if their alliance becomes the largest. However, it is highly questionable whether Draghi is still ready for it. Recently, President Sergio Mattarella, among others, has repeatedly urged Draghi to remain as prime minister, but the former European Central Bank chief has stuck to his position.

Another political crisis

Florence’s young mayor Matteo Renzi was nominated for prime minister in 2014 by the centrist Liberal Democratic Party (DP). His government was particularly committed to democratic and constitutional reforms. But when Renzi lost a referendum on those reforms in 2016, he stepped down as prime minister. As a DP captain, he continued to support the government for a long time.

But early last year Renzi, now separate from the Democratic Party, pulled his Italia Viva party out of government with the PD and the populist Five Star Movement. Thus Renzi caused another ministerial crisis in Italy, which he then resolved largely by himself by appointing former ECB President Draghi as Prime Minister in the Cabinet.

By relying heavily on Draghi once again, Kalinda and Renzi hope to avoid a new political crisis after the September elections. The next month and a half should show whether Draghi’s popularity is enough for the duo to live.

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