Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced on Monday night that he was resigning the leadership of the Democratic Party following his party’s “clear and obvious defeat,” at the polls.
The leader of the Democratic Party (PD) won only 18.7% of the vote in Sunday’s legislative elections.
« It is obvious under these conditions that I must leave the helm of the party, » said the former prime minister, stating that he would not run again at the next party congress.
With the historic breakthrough of populist and far-right movements, now in a majority of votes and seats, « Italy is facing a situation where those who have clearly won the elections do not have the votes to govern », he pointed out.
In the 2014 European elections, the PD won 40% of the vote but by Sunday, it fell to less than 19%, a bitter failure for Matteo Renzi even if this score would remain enviable for many of its center-left partners in Europe.
Noting several major differences with the two big winners of the ballot, Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega Nord and the populist 5-star Movement of Luigi Di Maio, especially on the European Union, Matteo Renzi promised on Monday that the PD would say « yes to everything that can serve Italy ».
« But we have three clear rules: no to shenanigans, no to restricted cabinets, no to any form of extremism, » he insisted.
Matteo Renzi’s long political decline began in December 2016, when his dream of a « more effective and simpler » Italy was shattered by the unqualified rejection of his constitutional reform in a referendum, which led him to resign from his position as Prime Minister.