Election campaign: Italy: Frictions in formation of centre-left alliance

With seven weeks to go before Italy's general election, the centre-left alliance is taking shape against the favored right.

Election campaign: Italy: Frictions in formation of centre-left alliance

With seven weeks to go before Italy's general election, the centre-left alliance is taking shape against the favored right. But this is not going smoothly: At the weekend, the Greens, the Left (Sinistra Italiana) and also the new party of Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio (Impegno Civico) joined the alliance led by the Social Democrats (PD). In response, however, the center party Azione - which was actually the first to sign a deal with the PD - announced the end of the cooperation.

In the Italian electoral system, which allocates some of its seats in parliament on the basis of pure majority voting, such alliances are crucial for success. Shortly after the fall of Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government in July, the centre-right bloc agreed to cooperate.

Fratelli could become the strongest force

The three parties Fratelli d'Italia, Lega and Forza Italia are leading in polls and have the best chance of winning the elections on September 25th. The strongest force could be the post-fascist Fratelli, whose boss Giorgia Meloni wants to become prime minister.

The centre-left alliance is purely a community of convenience to prevent a right-wing government. The parties sometimes differ greatly in their programmes. In the past few days, leading politicians have sometimes violently attacked each other, especially on social media, and sometimes do so after the agreement on cooperation.

The last deals by Social Democrat leader Enrico Letta even made sure that a partner threw down again on Sunday. The head of Azione and former minister Carlo Calenda, who only agreed to work with Letta on Tuesday, said in a TV interview about the withdrawal: "I no longer feel comfortable. It is undignified to do politics like this." Letta tweeted, "It seems to me that Calenda is the only possible partner of Calenda."

There is said to be no electoral cooperation with the Five Star Movement, which was the strongest party in the 2018 elections but has recently slumped in the polls and witnessed the resignation of Foreign Minister Di Maio and other parliamentarians. Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was also left out with his small party Italia Viva.

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