Matteo Renzi is backing off from the prospect of new elections, as he is unable to reign over the left wing of his party.
Since his defeat in a referendum in December 2016, Renzi has been calling for fresh elections.
However, in an interview with Corriere della Sera on Friday, he said that “elections can’t be the ‘second half’ after the referendum.”
Last year, Renzi introduced a series of Constitutional amendments that would weaken the second Chamber of the Italian Parliament and strengthen the government. The amendments had to be ratified by popular vote. The opposition saw the referendum as an opportunity to topple the Italian government and Renzi took the challenge by promising to resign if he lost the referendum. He did.
Last week, the former Prime Minister, Massimo D’Alema, threatened PD with a split from the ruling Democratic Party (PD), if Italy goes to the polls for before next year. A poll published last week suggests that D’Alema could carry 14%, of the estimated 31% PD vote.
Renzi went a step further on Friday to suggest he would be willing to hold a party congress next year in which his leadership could be contested, or even stepping aside for another prime ministerial candidate.
The Five Star movement is calling for snap elections, although they are now neck on neck with the ruling PD on the polls. That dynamic could change if PD were to split, but on the other hand, the Eurosceptic movement will find it hard to find allies for a Beppe Grillo administration.