Consolidation on the Italian Left

Left-wing critics of Matteo Renzi join forces while a small party from Milan is open to a deal with the Democrats.

Italian Senate speaker Pietro Grasso arrives at the University of Pavia, November 13
Italian Senate speaker Pietro Grasso arrives at the University of Pavia, November 13 (Università di Pavia)

Both left-wing opponents and supporters of the former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, are strengthening their ties ahead of parliamentary elections.

  • Dissidents from Renzi’s Democratic Party are due to join the far left in new party, led by Senate speaker Pietro Grasso.
  • Grasso has ruled out an alliance with the Democrats. He left the party in October.
  • The Progressive Camp, led by the former mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, is willing to do a deal with the Democrats provided they support a bill that would give citizenship to the children of immigrants who have spent at least five years in Italian schools.

Neck and neck

The Progressive Camp is tiny, but the Democrats need all the help they can get. They are polling neck and neck with the populist Five Star Movement. Both would get between 25 and 30 percent support.

The combined right, including former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party, would take another 30 percent.

Because a third of the seats in the new parliament will be allocated on a first-past-the-post basis, it matters which party places first. If Grasso keeps his support at 5 to 7 percent, that could cause the Democrats to lose their majority and bring in a right-wing government.