Renzi resigns as party chief after worst-ever result

Renzi resigns as party chief after worst-ever result”

Former Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has formally resigned as leader of the Democratic Party following the party's defeat in the latest parliamentary election. The newly appointed interim leader, Maurizio Martina, was quoted by the Italian news agency Ansa as saying that the party meant to stick to Renzi's plan to go into opposition and would not join any government.

No party or coalition won enough votes in the March 4 election to govern alone.

The PD, which fell to an all-time low of 19% prompting Renzi to say he was quitting, is also being wooed by the League, which got 18% to FI's 14%, and by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which got 32% in Italy's hung parliament.

"The euro is and remains a flawed currency", League leader Matteo Salvini told reporters in Strasbourg, repeating his common line.

Salvini is pushing for a flat tax to boost state coffers and to fight rampant tax evasion, while the 5-Stars have promised a minimum income to qualifying citizens that Salvini has dismissed as a handout.

The new parliament sits for the first time on 23 March. The first task will be electing a speaker of each house. "We intend to deeply respect the vote of all Italians" by refusing to become a junior member of a rightwing or populist-led government.

Talks are expected to go on for weeks, if not months.

"The meeting is just the first step of a likely long process that will have to lead first to a successor to Renzi", said Roberto D'Alimonte, a political science professor at Rome's Luiss University. The party is expected to pick a new leader at a party congress after a new government is formed.

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