(BBG) Italy’s Ruling Party to Weigh Kingmaker Role After Vote Loss

(Bloomberg) — Italy’s ruling party will discuss whether it
should play the role of kingmaker following its defeat in
inconclusive elections a week ago as it plots a course forward
without former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The Democratic Party’s leadership will meet in Rome Monday
at 3 p.m. to acknowledge the resignation of Renzi as its general
secretary. It will also begin discussion on a common stance
ahead of talks to form a governing coalition that will begin
after the new parliament convenes in Rome on March 23.
The center-right bloc led by Matteo Salvini’s League and
its rival, the Five Star Movement headed by Luigi Di Maio, have
both reached out to the party about possible cooperation in a
new cabinet. Neither has a majority in both houses of
parliament, giving the PD a potential key role even after its
position in both legislative chambers was devastated in the
election.
“The meeting is just the first step of a likely long
process that will have to lead first to a successor to Renzi,”
said Roberto D’Alimonte, a political science professor at Rome’s
Luiss University. ”As of today, it’s hard to guess who the new
leader will be, let alone the party’s approach to the
government-formation talks.”
Salvini has called on the center-left PD to “to give the
country a way out” of the political deadlock. Renzi, who stepped
down last week, insisted in an interview with Corriere della
Sera published on Monday that the party should go into
opposition after its worst-ever election result and said that a
support to a government led by Five Star would be impossible.
PD Chairman Matteo Orfini has taken that stance as well.
“You can’t imagine us being in a government led by Five
Star,” Orfini said on Sunday in an interview with state-run
television RAI 3. He added that it would mean “the end” of the
party. “We need to stay in opposition, and I hope we’ll decide
to stay in the opposition.”
The PD would only consider a so-called “all-for-one
government,” open to contributions by all parties and possibly
led by a non-political figure. Alternatively, Five Star and the
League should form a government together, Orfini said.
Critics say the PD may not have the luxury of going into
opposition in a country that’s in need of a government. As many
as 40 PD lawmakers, including some opposed to a pact with Di
Maio’s Five Star, might be prepared to back a center-right
program led by Salvini or another League figure, one of the
officials said Thursday. That would still leave Salvini at least
10 votes short.
In an interview with La Stampa published on Monday, Forza
Italia’s head Silvio Berlusconi called on the PD to support a
center-right government.
Five Star would see an attempt by center-right forces and
the Democratic Party to form a government as “a resounding
insult” to voters, Di Maio said on Saturday on Facebook.