Italy’s Renzi faces uphill path to win moderate vote: Poll

ROME: Former prime minister Matteo Renzi’s new party will not find it easy to claim the middle ground of Italian politics, the first polls after its breakaway from the ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD) show.
An EMG Acqua opinion poll for state-owned RAI television said only 3.4 per cent of voters would support the new Italia Viva (Italy Alive) party. The Demopolis agency for private channel La 7, gave it 5.2 per cent.
This week 40 lawmakers joined Renzi’s party, making its backing indispensable for the survival of the new governing coalition of the PD and the 5-Star Movement.
The former PD leader, who played a major role in forming the new alliance after the far-right League abandoned its coalition with the 5-Star, has said he will back the government.
Renzi, who has had a turbulent relation with his former party in recent years, aims to attract centrist voters ahead of a widely expected proportional reform of the electoral law that is seen enhancing the bargaining power of small parties.
The EMG poll said the PD has lost a 2.8 points in a week, suggesting it had shed votes to Renzi’s new movement.
“The first polls seem to show a trend: a large part of the Italia Viva electorate comes from the PD. For now Renzi seems to have little attraction outside”, said Lorenzo Pregliasco, head of polling and political analysis firm YouTrend.
However, Demopolis estimated potential support of 9 per cent for the new party, which has not yet presented a policy platform but has already drawn a barrage of criticism from left and right.
In an interview with la Repubblica daily on Friday, former centre-left Prime Minister Romano Prodi said the name Italia Viva would be more suitable for a yogurt, adding that Renzi’s move was a threat to the new government. — Reuters