Italy’s Renzi Calls for German-Style Voting System

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and German chancellor Angela Merkel address a joint news conference in Berlin, March 25, 2014
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and German chancellor Angela Merkel address a joint news conference in Berlin, March 25, 2014 (Bundesregierung)

Italy’s Democratic Party leader, Matteo Renzi, has called for a German-style voting system in his country that could pave the way for a left-right coalition government.

Italy must have voting reform before elections can be held this year or next. Read more

After Winning Back Party Control, Renzi Faces Two Challenges

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi delivers a news conference in Rome, January 13, 2016
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi delivers a news conference in Rome, January 13, 2016 (Palazzo Chigi)

Italy’s Matteo Renzi has won a convincing mandate for his center-left agenda, winning over 70 percent support in the Democratic Party’s leadership contest.

The former premier, who stepped down in December after losing a referendum on constitutional reform, is believed to be plotting a comeback.

After prevailing in this weekend’s primary, he can comfortably brush off criticism that he governed too much from the center. Read more

Left-Wing Purists Split in Italy, Raise Risk of Five Star Victory

Italian lawmaker Roberto Speranza checks his phone during an event in Bologna, March 14, 2015
Italian lawmaker Roberto Speranza checks his phone during an event in Bologna, March 14, 2015 (Francesco Pierantoni)

Left-wing rebels quit Italy’s Democratic Party this weekend to start a new party with remnants of the old left, called the Democrats and Progressives.

The group consists of leftwingers who are dissatisfied with the centrist leadership of Matteo Renzi, but they could end paving the way for an even less social democratic Italy. Read more

Purists Hurt Left’s Chances in France, Could Do Same in Italy

Enrico Rossi, the president of Tuscany, addresses a plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels, June 15, 2016
Enrico Rossi, the president of Tuscany, addresses a plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels, June 15, 2016 (EU/Tim De Backer)

It doesn’t look like the two left-wing contenders for the French presidency will be able to make a pact.

I wrote here a few days ago that Benoît Hamon, the mainstream Socialist Party candidate, and the far left’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon could have bested the French center. A left-wing unity ticket would have qualified for the second voting round in May, according to recent polls. Marine Le Pen of the National Front is expected to qualify as well. Forced to choose between a leftist and a nativist, a majority of the French would presumably opted for the former.

But neither Hamon nor Mélenchon is willing to play second fiddle, as a result of which the left won’t stand a chance. Read more

Renzi Picks Side in Italy’s Blue-Red Culture War

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers a reporter's question in Mexico City, Mexico, April 20, 2016
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers a reporter’s question in Mexico City, Mexico, April 20, 2016 (Palazzo Chigi)

Italy’s Democratic Party leader, Matteo Renzi, launched his candidacy for reelection this week by presenting himself as the alternative to nationalist leaders in his own country as well as America and France.

“Some people wanted a party congress to find an alternative to Renzi-ism. It needs to be done as an alternative to Trumpism, Le Penism and even Grilloism,” the former prime minister said, referring to the new president of the United States, the leader of France’s National Front and the founder of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Read more

Court Ruling Makes Early Elections More Likely in Italy

The skyline of Rome, Italy, February 18, 2011
The skyline of Rome, Italy, February 18, 2011 (Bjørn Giesenbauer)

Italy’s Constitutional Court made early elections more likely on Wednesday, when it demanded changes in the electoral system that lawmakers ushered in last year.

At the behest of the center-left prime minister, Matteo Renzi, the lower of house of parliament introduced a two-round system to elect its members, which would make it easier for any one party, or coalition of parties, to win a majority.

But voters rejected an overhaul of the Senate that was meant to work in tandem with the lower-house reforms in a referendum last month. Read more

Italy’s Five Stars to Switch from Anti- to Pro-EU Bloc

Italian Five Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo gives a speech at Optima Italia, May 18, 2016
Italian Five Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo gives a speech at Optima Italia, May 18, 2016 (Optima Italia SpA)

Italy’s Euroskeptic Five Star Movement is leaving Nigel Farage’s group in the European Parliament and applying to join the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) instead, Beppe Grillo announced on Monday. Read more