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  Italy elections: as left splinters, Berlusconi waits in wings
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jan 23, 2018 10:21pm
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CategoryGeneral
AuthorStephanie Kirchgaessner
News DateWednesday, January 24, 2018 12:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Descriptionsk anyone in Italy about who might be sitting at the head of government in Palazzo Chigi following national elections on 4 March and the answer is a collective shrug of the shoulder.

Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister and master of reinvention, has portrayed the centre-right coalition he leads as a safe pair of hands against the insurgency of the populist Five Star Movement, which has the overwhelming support of young voters but a dismal track record in municipal governments.

Whether either side can cobble together a resounding majority on 4 March, or whether Italy will hobble from one election to another – as some predict – seems anyone’s guess.

There is only one likelihood that most pundits do agree upon : that the Italian centre-left, led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, seems poised to be heading for a humiliating defeat, not unlike its ideological counterparts in Germany and Spain.

Things should be looking better for Renzi, the former Florence mayor who, in his heyday in 2014, made sweeping promises that he would herald in a new, modern Italy, revamp the economy and reform politics-as-usual. Renzi was forced to resign in late 2016 after he badly lost an ill-advised constitutional referendum.

Since then, he has remained at the helm of the Democratic party, as his former foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, took over the reins of leading the government. Now, despite significant improvements in the economy under the PD’s (Democratic party) leadership, Renzi’s centre-left coalition is lagging in the polls, with about 22% of voter support.
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