Italy’s centre-left deals a blow as the centrist party leaves the electoral pact

By Federico Maccioni and Angelo Amante

ROME (Reuters) – The leader of Italy’s centrist party Azione said on Sunday he would quit the centre-left electoral alliance he formed with the Democratic Party (PD) last week, dealing a blow to the chances of the coalition ahead of the September 25 election. .

The green left federation and the centrist party Impegno Civico had agreed the day before to join the PD-led bloc, a move seen as strengthening a center-left already lagging behind its conservative rivals.

Polls show a Tory alliance is poised to win next month’s election, with the far-right Brotherhood of Italy set to be the largest single party. Italian electoral law favors parties that form broad alliances.

Azione leader Carlo Calenda said he told PD leaders his party would leave the deal, citing the presence of parties that voted against former Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government as the one of the reasons.

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The September vote was called following the collapse of Draghi’s unity government last month after three main partners rejected a confidence vote he had called in an attempt to end divisions. Draghi resigned but remained acting prime minister.

“It was the most painful decision of my life,” Calenda told state broadcaster Rai Tre.

PD leader Enrico Letta tweeted: “I listened to Carlo Calenda. From everything he said, it seems to me that the only possible ally for Calenda is Calenda (himself).”

Azione had agreed to team up with the PD, the center-left’s biggest party, in a bid to catch up with the conservatives. He pledged to stick to Draghi’s foreign policy of supporting Ukraine and achieving the goals required to access billions of euros in European Union funding.

The centrist party and its ally +Europa obtain around 5 to 7% in the polls. Earlier on Sunday, +Europa expressed its strong approval of the pact with the PD and it is still unclear what the small group would do after the Calenda move.

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni and Angelo Amante, editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Mark Heinrich)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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