Sunday

28th Feb 2021

Younger rival ousts Italian PM

  • Renzi: 'Italy cannot live in a situation of uncertainty' (Photo: Il Fatto Quotidiano)

The 39-year-old mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, has ousted Italy’s centre-left Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, after an internal party vote.

"Following the decisions taken today in the national committee of the Democratic party, I have informed the president, Giorgio Napolitano, of my desire to go to the Quirinale tomorrow to tender my resignation as prime minister," Letta said in a statement on Thursday (13 February).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The party voted 136 votes to 16, with two abstentions, to create a new government with the task of pulling Italy out of a crisis that has seen its economy shrink by nine percent in seven years.

The new government is set to take over until 2018.

Following the vote, Renzi told party members “Italy cannot live in a situation of uncertainty and instability. We are at a crossroads.”

The Florence mayor, who led the call for change and is the party leader since December, was not officially announced as Letta’s successor but is almost certain to become Italy’s next prime minister.

The 88-year old Napolitano is expected to ask Renzi to step into Letta’s role once he officially resigns on Friday, making the mayor the third prime minister in the past three years to take power without winning an election.

Described as charismatic and ambitious, Renzi has had little experience in national politics. He has never been elected to parliament.

An election under the existing electoral rules, he says, would risk creating a deadlock and jeopardise attempts by the new administration to implement much needed constitutional, electoral and bureaucratic reforms by 2018.

As the eurozone’s third largest economy, Italy is struggling to reign in high unemployment rates not seen in the past 40 years with frustration mounting against the slow pace of government-led improvements.

Public debt tops €2 trillion and youth unemployment is at 41 percent.

Renzi is perceived by some analysts as someone more likely than Letta to break EU budget rules in favour of structural reforms. He is also said to want to loosen rules on hiring and firing for companies.

correction: this article originally stated Italy was the EU's third largest economy when in fact it is the eurozone's third largest economy

EUobserved

The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them

Ideas that are attacked are actually being promulgated. That has been the case for centuries, at least as far back as Thomas Aquinas. And that is certainly the case today with Facebook and Twitter.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders restate defence 'autonomy' plan
  2. Rights group exposes Ethiopia massacre
  3. US carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria
  4. Malta closes investigation into journalist murder
  5. Dutch parliament calls China treatment of Uighurs genocide
  6. Spain fined €15m by ECJ over data failures
  7. Belarus: Anti-government protester jailed for 10 years
  8. German charged with spying for Russia in Bundestag

Coronavirus

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. Armenia 'coup' shows waning of EU star in South Caucasus
  2. 'Difficult weeks' ahead, as variants spread across EU
  3. EU top court advised to strike down Hungary's asylum policy
  4. Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency
  5. Is EU poised to solve child labour in 'green' batteries?
  6. The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them
  7. Who are the EU's new Russian deplorables?
  8. Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us