Posts tagged "Matteo Renzi"

(No) New Government in Italy

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A week after Matteo Renzi resigned as Prime Minister following his defeat over the constitutional referendum, the former Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni was asked by the President of the Republic to form a new government that will guide Italy into the next elections in February 2018.

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Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is put to the test

Bundeskanzler Werner Faymann in Rom

Local elections in Italy

The rise of the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement (M5S), founded by comedian Beppe Grillo in 2009, has now become a challenge to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s power.

In June, citizens voted to elect mayors and town councillors of several cities across Italy, including Rome, Turin, Milan and Bologna.
These are the main results of the elections:
• M5S, which has largely been seen as a protest movement in the past years, has now become Italy’s second largest party
• M5S won in 19 out of 20 cities, where its candidates stood for mayor
• There was a general loss of consensus for Matteo Renzi’s centre-left party (Democratic Party, PD), although it held onto power in Milan, Italy’s financial capital and in the northern city of Bologna, by beating the centre-right candidates

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Five days on from the election: five reflections on the Commission presidency

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]This blogpost, originally published at 12:55 on Friday 30 May, has been updated following remarks by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, later on Friday afternoon.[/infopane]

That was the week that was: an odd few days where the European People’s Party won the European Parliament elections, but was also the biggest loser; and where Socialists in the Parliament backed the EPP lead candidate for the European Commission presidency, only for some centre-right leaders to apply the brakes in the European Council.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EPP lead candidate, is still the frontrunner and the only person formally in the running. His chances have been boosted tanks to comments by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday, that she is conducting negotiations on the basis that Juncker should be President.

However, it is clear that a number of heads of government would like to dump him in favour of someone else. The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has been charged with an exploratory mission to find the person – Juncker included – who can command the sufficient majority in the Parliament and European Council.

Meanwhile, five political groups in the European Parliament have backed Juncker to have a first go at building majorities in the same institutions – and if he fails, are likely to call for Martin Schulz, lead candidate of the second-placed Socialists, to have a go.

If those who want to block Juncker in the European Council succeed – and it is not a done deal yet for the former Luxembourg prime minister – an inter-institutional battle between the Parliament and European Council will be on the cards.

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Italy’s Commission nominee: recycling à la Renzi

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When it comes to this year’s European Parliament elections, Italy is lagging behind.

So far, none of the major parties have announced their full lists for the election, and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (pictured right) is yet to put forward a nominee to be a European commissioner.

The reason for these delays is the high level of uncertainty on the Italian political scene. Renzi won the leadership of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) in December; two months later he ousted Enrico Letta to take control of a reshuffled government.

The centre-right has fragmented, with ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia re-emerging and the New Centre-Right being established. Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) has sown further confusion with its unpredictable policies and personalities.

It is in this political climate that Renzi will need to consider potential candidates for Italy’s nomination to the European Commission.

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Italy’s Tsipras List: who are the candidates and what do they want to achieve?

Press Conference : "Is austerity the only way out of the crisis? Alternative options for Europe"The ‘Tsipras List’ – officially ‘The Other Europe with Tsipras‘, which was presented on 5 March in Rome, is part of a growing trend of ‘personality-led’ lists of candidates for the European elections.

The List – which is the first confirmed list of candidates for the European Parliament election in Italy – is somewhat unconventional. Like lists in some other countries – such as Poland’s Europa Plus – Your Movement list (which we will look at in more detail in a future post) and France’s ‘Citizens’ Europe’ (led by Corinne Lepage MEP) – the Tsipras List brings together prominent members of civil society, professionals, intellectuals and others, in addition to politicians.

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Renzi set to take the reins in Italy

carlo nidasio flickrThe Mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi (pictured right), has been asked by the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, to form a new government.

Renzi, the leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) is set to replace Enrico Letta, who has been PM since April 2013. Letta’s government replaced Mario Monti‘s technocratic administration following elections held last February.

Letta’s left-right grand coalition had become increasingly fragile during his ten months in charge. Frustrated at the pace of economic and political reform, Renzi – who took the PD leadership in December 2013 – called a meeting of the party’s national committee, which backed his call for a change of government.

Splits in the centre-right and criticism from Renzi helped to destabilise Letta’s government. Last week Letta presented a package of reforms called ‘Impegno Italia’ (Italy’s commitment) focused on tax cuts, a review of public spending and increased investment. This package of reforms was criticised by Renzi, not least because it seemed to copy his own ideas, set out in his ‘Jobs Act’ programme.

After days of tension, Letta handed his resignation to the Italian President on Friday 14 February, less than 24 hours after the PD leadership withdrew its backing. After consultations with party leaders, President Napolitano asked Renzi on Monday 17 February to form an administration by the end of this week.

Renzi has accepted (with the usual reservation of a new PM-designate) and will probably appoint ministers by next Monday. Official consultations will start on Tuesday. As for Letta, he is now being tipped as a possible candidate for one of the top jobs in Brussels in 2014.

The political situation is complicated and not all political parties have decided whether to support Renzi. The Five Star Movement (M5S), led by Beppe Grillo, did not even participate in the consultations.

Renzi recently met Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister and current leader of the centre-right Forza Italia party, to discuss a new electoral law. Renzi argued last week that new elections would be pointless under the current law, which makes it hard to build strong coalitions; however, opinion polls suggest that most Italians – like several political leaders – did not want this change without a popular vote.

The only thing that is certain is that Renzi – who, at 39 years old, will become Italy’s youngest-ever PM – will have to overcome the economic crisis, which is one of the biggest challenges for Italy. He will also have to create more job opportunities and reform the political system, including a reduction in the size of the Italian Parliament.

The test of his promises will come soon.

Irma Cordella – Burson-Marsteller Italy, Rome

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