Letta suffers his first casualty in his bid to unite Italy’s center-left

The alliance that Enrico Letta’s Democratic Party (PD) intends to form for the September elections in Italy has registered the withdrawal of Action, one of the parties that had already given the go-ahead to run together to try to prevent the far-right from taking power.

The leader of Action, Carlo Calenda, misses “courage, beauty, seriousness and love for politics” in an alliance that, in his opinion, “is made to lose.” In an interview to the Rai channel, he has affirmed that it is a “painful” decision, without making clear what his political intentions will be from now on.

“There is no way to dissociate the Democratic Party from populism,” he insisted Monday on his Facebook account, from where he has called for a “reformist alternative” to get Italy out of the umpteenth political crisis in which it is mired.

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Letta has accused his so far ally of moving for partisan interests and of “helping the right”, making it clear that his intention is to go ahead with a pact that has, among others, the support of Civic Commitment, the new party led by the former leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) Luigi di Maio.

For the leaders of Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, and of the League, Matteo Salvini, the abrupt departure of Accion evidences the “chaos” of a center-left that is lagging behind in the polls and struggling to mitigate the growing division of recent years.

The leader of the M5S, Giuseppe Conte, has accused Letta of provoking a “political disaster” and has confirmed on Canale5 that “with pride, they will go alone” to the next elections, while the former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi –former leader of the PD–, has rushed to nominate Calenda for the ‘third pole’ that he aspires to create as an alternative to the conservative formations.

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The polls anticipate a clear victory for the right, which could win two thirds of the legislators in both houses of Parliament and raise for the first time a far-right person to the post of prime minister. Meloni and his party are for now in the lead in these polls.

Italians are called to the polls after the 5 Star Movement in July withdrew support for Mario Draghi’s government in a key vote, although the cabinet headed by the former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) remains in place.

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