June 15, 2016
An insurrection against Renzi in the PD
While all the focus is on the Brexit referendum, the second round of Italy's local elections on Sunday is important - not because an outsider may be swept into power in Rome, but because of their broader political significance. La Repubblica has an interesting behind-the-scenes article this morning on how Massimo D'Alema, former prime minister, foreign minister, and stalwart of the left in the Partito Democratico, is plotting a coup against Matteo Renzi. D'Alema is telling people that he will be voting for Virginia Raggi, the Five Star Movement candidate, in the final round of the mayoral elections in Rome. If both Rome and Milan are lost to the PD - which is possible - he will immediately be starting a 'No' campaign for the referendum on constitutional reform in October. If Renzi loses that, his government will resign, so this is the only lever D'Alema and other Renzi opponents have. D'Alema believes that a loss of the mayors of Rome and Milan would constitute a cataclysmic event in Italian politics and shift the balance of power against Renzi. The PD is now light-years away from the 41% result it obtained during the European elections. His specific criticism of the constitutional reforms is that they create a presidential system - with term limits - even though this sits oddly within a constitution written for a parliamentary system. D'Alema does not want to resign from the PD, but to align all the parties of the left behind a No. And he already has a successor lined up to replace Renzi: the governor of Puglia, Michele Emiliano.