Sunday, December 5

Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta elected to head the Democratic Party | Italy

A former Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta, has been elected leader of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), the second-largest party in Mario Draghi’s government, as another former prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, was in talks to become in leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S), the largest.

Letta replaces Nicola Zingaretti, who abruptly left the party leadership earlier this month over what she called an “endless stream” of criticism, and was elected on Sunday with 860 votes in favor and two against.

“I thank you all for your faith; It is a great honor and I will give it my all, ”he said.

Letta led a coalition of parties from the left and right in 2013-14 and since 2015 has been the dean of the school of international affairs at Sciences Po in Paris. PD members came to him for help in reviving the party’s fortunes after Zingaretti’s departure caused a drop in support in opinion polls.

Zingaretti, who had led the party since March 2018, welcomed the move, adding on Twitter: “Now for loyalty and passion for the good of Italy.”

In a video message on Friday, Letta, who helped found the PD, said she applied for the role “out of a love for politics and a passion for democratic values.”

Letta said he would hold talks with all parties, including “Giuseppe Conte’s Five Star Movement.” Conte, who resigned as prime minister of a coalition between the PD and the M5S in January, remains one of the most popular politicians in Italy for his early handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Letta and Conte have something in common: both were effectively ousted from office by Matteo Renzi, the former PD leader who was prime minister between 2014 and 2016.

Letta, 54, was appointed prime minister by former President Giorgio Napolitano after the 2013 general election produced a stalemate. He later became embroiled in a power struggle with Renzi, who argued that Italy needed a more ambitious government.

Renzi, also appointed prime minister by Napolitano, was forced to resign at the end of 2016 after losing a referendum on constitutional reform. He resigned as leader of the PD after the party’s dismal performance in the 2018 elections.

Renzi then parted ways with the PD after orchestrating a coalition between the party and former rival M5S in August 2019 following the collapse of the M5S coalition government with the far-right League, and went on to form Italia Viva, a small centrist party. who surveys about 3%.

In January, Renzi removed Italia Viva from the ruling coalition after confronting Conte’s plans for Italy’s economic recovery after Covid-19, sparking a political crisis that ushered in the formation of a unity government. broad-based national led by Draghi, the former European. Head of the Central Bank.

Letta immediately drew criticism from Matteo Salvini, who leads the League, after he said he would like the Draghi government to reignite debate over a highly controversial law that would grant citizenship at birth to children born in Italy to foreign parents. Currently, the children of immigrants have to wait until they are 18 years old.

“So it starts off badly,” Salvini said.

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