Economy / Politics

The two faces of the Italian left

Mr Matteo Renzi is hosting in Florence the Leopolda, the yearly political event which launched him. Held in a former railway station named after Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany, the Leopolda is a modern event reminiscent of a corporate convention during which non political VIPs take the floor.

Meanwhile, in Rome, 1,000,000 people led by the leftist trade unions took the streets against Mr Renzi, including some MPs of his own party.

The conflict between the moderate wing and the traditional-hardline wing of the Italian left was the ultimate cause of the collapse of all the leftist Governments of the Italian Second Republic, which were little more than brief intervals in Mr Berlusconi’s reign.

The event in Rome seems to underline the old problem. This time things are different, however. 1,000,000 people can look like a huge number, but it’s not so much for very organized trade unions enlisting many pensioners. Moreover, Mr Renzi’s popularity and grip to power appear to be just too strong to be shaken, for the time being at least.

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