Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta will today meet President Giorgio Napolitano to tender his resignation. Yesterday in the afternoon the National Direction of Mr Letta’s Democratic Party passed a resolution advocating the appointment of a wholly new Government.
The resolution had been proposed by Party secretary Matteo Renzi, who will now be appointed Prime Minister by the President. Mr Renzi thanked Mr Letta for his work but said that a drastic change of pace was needed.
Mr Renzi also announced that his Government will last until 2018. Considering that he is not even a MP, that was too much for some members of the Party, in particular many rank-and-file members. Mr Renzi had previously acknowledged his lack of popular legitimacy, ensuring that he wasn’t going to accept any Government position without facing a national election. Beside this, Mr Renzi’s critics and some of his supporters didn’t appreciate his sudden maneuvering to remove Mr Letta, which stinks of old-style politics when Mr Renzi had been promising to tow Italy into the third millennium.
In addition to this lack of enthusiasm, Mr Renzi faces huge challenges. Exactly like Mr Letta, he will be able to count only on a narrow majority in the Senate, and even that only thanks to the tiny New Right party of Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano.
Mr Alfano technically is not even an ally of the Democratic Party, since his party – a spin-off of Mr Berlusconi’s one – is rightist. He quickly made clear that he is willing to support a Government together with the Democratic Party only “for emergency purposes” and he won’t allow any leftist policy.
However, on major reforms Mr Renzi could ask for Mr Berlusconi’s votes, which would ensure a more than comfortable majority. Moreover the Northern League party looks willing to negotiate with him, probably to obtain increased powers for the Northern local Governments.
The first significant act by Mr Renzi will be delivering his ministerial list to President Giorgio Napolitano.