Italy is beginning to move towards a second round of elections. Yesterday, the leader of the Democratic Left, Pier Luigi Bersani, was ousted in favor of his chief political rival, Matteo Renzi, the current mayor of Florence. Renzi is younger and more charismatic than Bersani and has a chance to improve on his party’s performance in the first round of elections.
Renzi’s supporter were behind the coup that took place Thursday when Bersani could not get his choice for president elected even after making a deal with center right leader Silvio Berlusconi. The Democratic Left is gambling that Renzi can draw enough support to form a coalition government over the compromised Bersani, but the next round will be a crapshoot. It remains to be seen whether or not a second round of elections will produce a coalition with a mandate.
Before Parliament may be dissolved and new elections called, current president Giorgio Napolitano must be elected to a second term. Bersani and Berlusconi reached an agreement to reelect Napolitano who will serve as caretaker president in order to resolve the current political stalemate. It is believed that he will not serve a full term but resign in a year or so after a new government is able to garner enough support for a replacement. Napolitano would be 94 at the end of his second term.