Open Europe Blog

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has announced he will tender his resignation to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano tomorrow. The dramatic development comes after Italy’s centre-left leader Matteo Renzi addressed a meeting of his Democratic Party earlier today. A few minutes before Renzi took the floor, it emerged Letta would not be attending the meeting – a clear sign of where things were going.

The three key points of Renzi’s speech were:

  • Letta has done a great job, but it’s time to give way to a new government (that Renzi will lead);
  • Snap elections now would be too risky, primarily because the electoral law hasn’t been changed yet;
  • The new government will aim to stay in office until 2018 – when the current parliamentary term expires.

It now seems certain that the ‘staffetta’ (relay) will materialise – and we expressed our thoughts on the move in our previous blog post.

So what happens next? If you’re regular readers of this blog, you should know the drill by now – but just in case:

  • Letta will meet President Napolitano tomorrow, and will hand in his resignation;
  • Napolitano will then have to consult all the political groups holding seats in the Italian parliament. The timetable is usually announced after the Prime Minister resigns, but we reckon it could happen over the weekend; 
  • After the talks, Napolitano should give Renzi the mandate to form the new government – presumably early next week;
  • After holding his own round of talks with other political leaders, Renzi should then unveil the list of ministers (we’d expect a rather substantial reshuffle from the current cabinet), and should be sworn in;
  • After being sworn in, Renzi will have to face a vote of confidence in both houses of the Italian parliament – which, as things stand now, should be a mere formality. 

This is all you need to know to make sense of the latest political developments in Italy. For real-time updates, you can follow us on Twitter @OpenEurope and @LondonerVince.

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