Until some weeks ago, the left-wing Democratic Party was deemed the sure winner of the next Italian political elections.
This assumption was wrong from the beginning, since in the Italian Senate the seats are allocated on a regional basis, and some Northern regions are traditional strongholds of the right.
Just when it was realizing that, the Democratic Party found further obstacles in its way.
First Berlusconi’s comeback and Monti’s decision to run.
Then top judge Antonio Ingroia took a leave from his post to found a new leftist party, Civil Revolution, which is going to drain votes from the Democratic Party.
It is now nearly certain that the Italian Parliament will be divided, but the Democratic Party could still have what in Italy they call ‘an ace in the sleeve’, id est a secret weapon.
This weapon is Mr. Matteo Renzi, the current Mayor of Florence and the loser of the Democratic Party primary elections. Mr. Renzi was beaten by the party official candidate, secretary Pier Luigi Bersani. His defeat is regretted by many, however.
First of all, Mr. Renzi is more charismatic than Mr. Bersani, and therefore more fit to challenge an ever brilliant Berlusconi. Secondly, Mr. Renzi is considered a man than can talk to the rightist electors, and could be the key to win in the Northern regions. Thirdly, Mr. Renzi is very young (for Italian standards at least) and this alone could be a huge boost for the popularity of the Democratic Party.
This did not elude the Democratic Party headquarters, which have already sent Mr. Renzi on the front line. On February 1st, he will take part to a rally in Florence together with Mr. Bersani. Then, he will leave for the North. Alone.