Emboldened by the splitting of Silvio Berlusconi’s party and the media mogul’s expulsion from parliament, Prime Minister Enrico Letta has already won one confidence vote in parliament. Today, he has called another to cement his coalition’s standing.
Letta is expected to win with the help of a centre-right group which split from Berlusconi but tensions are rising between his centre-left PD, now by far the biggest party in the coalition, and the small group led by Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.
That’s partly because there’s a new man in town who may press for more left-wing policies that would enrage the centre-right.
Matteo Renzi, the 38-year-old mayor of Florence, was anointed leader of the PD on Sunday and has wasted no time making his presence felt. He will not join the government but as party leader he is favourite to lead the PD into the next election as its candidate for prime minister. He has indicated he will support Letta in the confidence vote and beyond.
It’s the smart move, leaving it to Letta to forge agreement on a new electoral law capable of delivering more durable governments. Renzi can then reap the dividends, or so he hopes.