Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is on track for a political comeback after regaining the leadership of the ruling Democratic Party (PD).
According to unofficial results Renzi won more than 70 percent of votes in Sunday’s primary election among party supporters.
He easily saw off a challenge from opponents, Justice Minister Andrea Orlando and regional governor Michele Emiliano.
Renzi will now have to prepare his centre-left Democratic Party for parliamentary elections, which are due in May 2018. However recent opinion polls indicate he has a fight on his hands with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement riding high.
Polls show 5-Star now has around 30 percent of the vote and a lead of between 3 and 8 percentage points over the PD after a dispute between Renzi’s loyalists and left-wing traditionalists caused a party split in February.
Renzi’s resurgence follows his resignation as prime minister in December after a crushing defeat in a referendum over constitutional reforms at streamlining lawmaking. He was replaced by his foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni