On Sunday Italy’s newest political party, still in its birthpains, elects a leader. The Democratic party is intended to be a centre-left formation between moderate former Communists and the Daisy party led by a former mayor of Rome. It is another Roman leader, current Mayor Walter Veltroni, who is favourite to win. He will try to restore the centre-left’s fortunes after a tough 18 months in power backing Romano Prodi.
Two ministers are his strongest competitors: Rosy Bindy, the family minister, and Enrico Letta, Prodi’s office “guard dog”. However, Letta warns the Democrats must not be too ambitious: “If the party positions itself as an alternative government it will be very bad for the current administration,” he insists. Division on the left cost Prodi the prime minister’s job 10 years ago and he has fought for centre-left unity ever since.