Renzi faces more competition from left

Left-wing rebels quit the social democratic PD led by ex-prime minister Matteo Renzi on the weekend and formed a new party. The Movimento dei Democratici e Progessisti is likely to command around 50 seats in the two chambers of the Italian parliament. What will be the impact of the split in the PD?

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Der Standard (AT) /

A boon for Grillo and Lega Nord

The infighting in the PD is a ticking time bomb that could send shock waves throughout Europe if it explodes, Der Standard warns:

“The rift within Italy's largest ruling party Partito Democratico (PD) leaves one speechless: never before have we witnessed such needless self-castigation, especially not at such an unfavourable moment. … The populists will be the laughing third parties - Beppe Grillo's protest movement Movimento 5 Stelle, which veers between far left and far right positions, and the Lega Nord led by the xenophobic agitator Matteo Salvini. Neither the 'grillini' nor the Lega Nord would be able to obtain a working majority on their own in new elections, but if they formed a coalition such a majority would certainly be within reach. Which is why the co-founder of the PD Walter Veltroni said that the division of the PD endangers not just Italian democracy but the EU as a whole.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Ex-communists and new generation never gelled

Ever since the Partito Democratico was founded it was clear that it would split up one day, Corriere della Sera comments:

“In all these years the political cultures that led to the founding of the party never really gelled. … The rise of a new generation only accentuated this cultural rift. Matteo Renzi calls for a renewal of the party's political culture and combines traditional aspects of the Catholic left (for example as regards refugee policy) with aspects that up to now were totally alien to the party (from technological innovation to shaking up the private sector). … For the old garde this comes as a cultural shock. … When the PD was first formed ex-communists were in the majority. But now they must face the fact that they had to split off from the rest of the party as a minority and hope that the voters will shift the balance of power at least a little in their favour. ”

La Stampa (IT) /

An irresponsible political drama

Neither Renzi nor his opponents appear to be worried about the consequences of the internal party strife, La Stampa rails:

“What is clear is that the schism for which both camps of the PD are blaming each other will have immediate and disastrous consequences for the government, the parliament and the country. We could have expected more caution and far-sightedness from Renzi and his opponents instead of the psychodrama that played out yesterday. A party that presents the head of state, the head of government, most of the cabinet, the presidents in 15 of 20 regions, the mayors of the big cities, the heads of the big state companies; a party that in the present situation must act as the mainstay of a shaky political system - such a party should have at least considered the consequences before taking the path of division and introducing a phase of instability.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Left-wing minority waiting for better times

The party's left-wing minority was just bluffing when it called for Renzi to renounce leadership of the party and threatened to break ranks if he didn't, Corriere della Sera believes:

“What happened with the Democratic Party yesterday was less a split than the encapsulation of a group of influential persons. Some representatives of the internal opposition who have fought against Matteo Renzi since the first day he took over as the party's head in 2013 have chosen to stay within the party and are weighing up the option of presenting their own candidate in the primary. But they are not really hoping for what would be an improbable victory. … Rather they consider it more advantageous to remain in the party and be a thorn in the party secretary's side and wait for better times. In the meantime they are contenting themselves with posts that generally go to the minority.”