In Italy Romano Prodi is known as “the priest” for his hieratic way of speaking, but also as the only leftist leader who was able to beat Berlusconi twice.
Beside being Prime Minister twice, he was President of the all powerful (now dissolved) Institute for Industrial Reconstruction, President of the European Council and of the European Commission.
He is taken into high consideration by the Democratic Party, including its restive leftist wing, and even by the Five Stars Movement. Mr Berlusconi, understandably, consider him his nemesis.
He could now succeed to President Napolitano, who is going to resign. The internal opposition of the Democratic Party could use him as a tool to break the Nazareno Pact between Mr Renzi and Mr Berlusconi, accepted by the latter also to avoid a presidential election of Mr Prodi.
Mr Renzi, however, prevented any move by his adversaries and met Mr Prodi yesterday. What the two said to each others is not clear, but the political message to Mr Berlusconi is very clear: respect and enforce the Nazareno Pact, or I’ll crown Prodi as President, then he’ll dissolve then Parliament and call new elections which I’ll probably win.
At the same time, another message is delivered to the internal opposition to Mr Renzi within the Democratic Party. Don’t disturb the Government, or there will be new elections and Mr Renzi, as party secretary, will be the one choosing the candidates.