Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is at a crossroad after having called for a referendum on his premiership and having (politically speaking) placed his head on the result of October’s vote. Everything and everybody suggests pulling back the reins on October’s referendum in order to avoid ending up like David Cameron. Ex-President Giorgio Napolitano was explicit. “We will need to give back objectivity in the debate on constitutional reform and, for the sake of a natural progression of future political developments, its neutrality.”
But how? Renzi flew to Paris this weekend for an informal dinner with president President Hollande. In fact it was a pre-meeting in sight of the panic room meeting in Berlin, with only Merkel plus the other two great founding countries left, along with Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. The foreign Brexit crisis is a very delicate one. But, for Italy, it interlaces with a no-less delicate domestic crisis: The media is calling it “Renxit.”
The events in the United Kingdom came the day after the Italian Democratic Party’s defeat in administrative elections and have alarmed Renzi’s cabinet. The risk of losing the next referendum is growing. The opponents are promising it, and allies are worried. “I think Renzi has understood, by now, that the referendum will fail. The age of Renzi is over. We are preparing ourselves for the aftershock, when we will deal with the Five Star Movement,” said Matteo Salvini, the Lega Nord candidate for European Parliament. It remains to be seen whether the Five Star Movement has the same determination.