The Democratic Party’s leader’s first challenge would be to form a coalition that is dynamic and harmonious enough in Italy’s squabbling landscape to kick-start the economy, create jobs and prod Parliament to enact electoral reforms designed to make the nation more governable.
President Giorgio Napolitano’s office announced on Sunday that he will meet with Renzi the following day, and the politician was reportedly traveling to Rome.
Using internal maneuvering in the Democratic Party, Renzi engineered the collapse last week of Premier Enrico Letta’s government. That 10-month-old broad coalition of bitter rivals was cobbled together after last year’s election essentially yielded a political gridlock.
Only days before Democratic Party leaders used a no-confidence vote to force Letta to resign on Friday, the ambitious Renzi had assured the premier that he had nothing to worry about—promising that he would only seek the premiership through the ballot box.
If he becomes premier now, Renzi would be the youngest one in the dozens of governments that Italy has had since the republic was formed after World War II.
Opponents who have criticized Renzi as too ambitious and power hungry have pointed out that Benito Mussolini also was 39 when Italy’s monarch asked the Fascist leader to form a government in 1922.
If tapped by Napolitano as expected on Monday, Renzi will have to try to forge a solid coalition government with center-right and centrist parties, since his own Democrats cannot command a reliable majority in both chambers. Then Renzi must win mandatory confidence votes in Parliament, convincing lawmakers he is the man of the hour needed to be the premier of the economically-struggling country.
One hurdle to reaching that goal emerged on Sunday.
Angelino Alfano, the leader of a center-right force in Letta’s coalition, told his party’s base that he will demand promises from Renzi before joining the new government. Alfano’s support would help pass legislation that Renzi had said Italy quickly needs.
Alfano, the interior minister in the outgoing government, pressed Renzi to identify his agenda’s goals.
Alfano claims that backing from his small party, which last year broke away from longtime conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi, will be “decisive” for Renzi.
Renzi has alienated some in his own party by reneging on pledges to become premier only through a general election, not via the back-room maneuvering that doomed Letta.