What now for Matteo Renzi and Italian politics?

Matteo Renzi has hit the ground running. What immediate challenges does he face?

Professor Enrico Colombatto:

Well the problem is the following: he does not have a programme, and he does not have a list of ministers. He has promised he will come up with something by Friday.

He has an asset and a liability. The liability is that he doesn’t have a clue about what to do. The asset is that if he fails he will have to dissolve parliament, and MPs don’t want to go home and face the cost of another election.

So right now he has a couple of months to persuade parliament to take whatever he is going to suggest, just to keep the seats. So he has, let’s say, 10 weeks to do whatever he wants, as long as he has something to show for it.

Renzi and the Democratic Party have taken a big risk. What was the alternative?

Enrico Colombatto:

Well the turkey was his first plan. The first plan of Renzi was to go through with the electoral role, dissolve parliament and come back with his own parliament, his own MPs, after the elections. But the plan went awry because the polls told him that Berlusconi’s right wing coalition was six points ahead of him. So he could not go to the elections and lose.

That is why he has kicked Letta home, and replaced him right away without going to elections. The alternative would have been to go to the elections and lose, and he would have been wiped out of politics for the next 200 years.

Realistically, how will these events unfold?

Enrico Colombatto:

I would give him a 30 per cent chance of success. It’s hard to say because if you don’t know what’s going through his mind you cannot really make a judgment.

The bad news is, if you want to rescue the country – and Italy needs to be rescued – you must have a plan. And a makeshift plan put together three days before taking office cannot be a very well thought-out plan.

(Picture credit: dpa)

ALL CHANGE

  • Italy's president, Giorgio Napolitano, asked Matteo Renzi on Monday, February 17, 2014, to form a new government.
  • It is Italy's third in two years.
  • Mr Renzi is the leader of Italy's most powerful political organisation, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
  • Mr Renzi, 39, triggered the downfall of Prime Minister and party rival Enrico Letta after complaining of delays in the govenment's reform programme.
  • Mr Renzi, Mayor of Florence, has never been a member of parliament.
  • He enjoys by far the highest approval rating of any politician in the country.