Renzi quits his party

Italy's former prime minister Matteo Renzi has announced he is quitting the Democratic Party (PD) to found a new movement. He said he hopes to support the young M5S-PD government with a new faction in parliament. Commentators are critical of the move.

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Il Giornale (IT) /

Renzi the resurrected

This is mainly Renzi's revenge against PD leader Zingaretti, writes editor-in-chief Alessandro Sallusti in Il Giornale:

“The new party has entered the political arena through a 'non-hostile division', as Renzi's supporters put it. Just what they mean by 'non-hostile' is a mystery in this case, however, because the division weakens Zingaretti's PD in every respect. In this way Renzi jumps ship, starts his own movement and gains access to the extensive public funds available to the parliamentary groups. He'll be sitting with his delegation at all of the negotiating tables and, crucially, he'll be able to secure himself a significant share of the roughly four hundred appointments [for government posts] without having to even ask Zingaretti for them. ... Not bad for someone who everyone had written off just a few weeks ago.”

Der Standard (AT) /

The timing couldn't be worse

Renzi's jumping ship could ultimately benefit his biggest rival, Der Standard speculates:

“Renzi's new start in September 2019 testifies to the kind of overconfidence that put such an abrupt end to his government in December 2016. Back then he framed the referendum on what were indeed necessary constitutional reforms as a make-or-break decision. Now it's the timing that seems very wrong, particularly for Italy's new coalition into which Renzi himself led his old party, and which is now more wobbly than ever. So in the end the very man Renzi wanted to combat with his new party may well benefit most from its creation: Matteo Salvini.”

La Stampa (IT) /

The last thing Italy needs now

Another party will be an additional insecurity factor, La Stampa comments angrily:

“The government has only just been formed and the last thing Italy needs - now that yields on its government bonds are nearing those on German bonds and dialogue with the EU is working again - is another instability factor like the birth of a party that could shatter the majority. ... Despite all its current promises Renzi's new formation will make life difficult for the PD and M5S. The party will raise the bar on every issue simply to prove that it exists.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

A weak platform for potential defectors

Corriere della Sera isn't convinced by Renzi's claim that he wants to fill a void in the political centre:

“The idea looks both clever and desperate. ... Apparently this is an attempt to occupy a 'centrist' space that the governing alliance has left empty, and gather together in this no man's land the remnants of [Berlusconi's conservative party] Forza Italia - or in other words voters who feel orphaned and no longer represented. But the success chances - and the credibility - of the operation are questionable. Ultimately it would be a union of the weak rather than a solid project. What's more, it would only encourage the practice of defection.”