Italian centre-left Democratic party in turmoil over voting reform

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Italian centre-left Democratic party in turmoil over voting reform

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Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the biggest party in the governing coalition, is in turmoil over negotiations on voting reform with Silvio Berlusconi.

Following a meeting between its dynamic leader Matteo Renzi and the discredited former premier who has been convicted of tax fraud and banned from parliament , the party’s president has now resigned.

The meeting last Saturday at Democratic Party headquarters sparked unease within the party. Renzi had promised to overhaul the electoral system that is blamed by many for creating political deadlock.

Renzi said in a speech that he did not know who he should discuss the electoral reform with “except the political figure that in the last 20 years has created Forza Italia and re-launched a new Forza Italia. All the criticism about the meeting with Berlusconi seem useless to me,” he said.

The new president of the Democratic Party, Gianni Cuperlo, abruptly resigned on Tuesday. He said he felt “alarmed” at the direction of the party.

Renzi’s new deal has also come under fire from some parts of his own party, who complain that it serves as a political rehabilitation for Berlusconi.