From doc­tor to mafia-hunter: Who will get Italy’s top job?

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

ROME:

Prime min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi’s res­ig­na­tion has left Italy’s top job up for grabs. Who are the fron­trun­ners to re­place him? Pres­i­dent Ser­gio Mattarella would like it to be some­one from Renzi’s cen­tre-left Demo­cratic Party (PD), which is still ahead in the polls de­spite the PM’s fall.

But with a rebel fac­tion within the PD plot­ting to seize the party, and op­po­si­tion par­ties de­ter­mined not to have a Renzi ally at the helm, Mattarella may have no choice but to plump for an in­sti­tu­tional rather than po­lit­i­cal figure.

Carlo Padoan

Padoan, 66, is a sea­soned econ­o­mist with the po­ten­tial to re­as­sure fi­nan­cial mar­kets and a jit­tery Europe.

Tapped by Renzi in 2013 to be his fi­nance min­is­ter-a job few ap­peared pre­pared to do-Padoan has been a prom­i­nent front­line figure, deal­ing with a bank­ing cri­sis and wran­gling over budget flex­i­bil­ity with Brussels. The pro­fes­sor is con­sid­ered a safe pair of hands, though some an­a­lysts warn he may be too close to Renzi for the op­po­si­tion’s taste.

Graziano Del­rio

Del­rio, a doc­tor with nine chil­dren, is Renzi’s clos­est ally and con­fi­dant. The 56year-old stud­ied medicine in Bri­tain and Is­rael and spe­cialised in en­docrinol­ogy be­fore mov­ing into pol­i­tics, be­com­ing Renzi’s state sec­re­tary, then min­is­ter of trans­port in 2015. He would be seen as a con­tin­u­a­tion of the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, pos­si­bly with the plus of be­ing able to bring the PD’s rebel wing into line.

Paolo Gen­tiloni

Gen­tiloni, 62, is Italy’s for­eign min­is­ter and a PD stal­wart. A for­mer jour­nal­ist with a de­gree in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence, he was com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter in prime min­is­ter Ro­mano Prodi’s gov­ern­ment be­tween 2006 and 2008. An­a­lysts say he is a known and trusted figure in Europe, but may be seen as too much of an es­tab­lish­ment figure-and, once again, too close to Renzi.

Dario Frances­chini

Frances­chini, 58, is Italy’s min­is­ter of cul­ture. A for­mer lawyer and oc­ca­sional nov­el­ist, he was ini­tially con­sid­ered one of the fron­trun­ners for Renzi’s job. But Frances­chini has since been tied by Ital­ian me­dia re­ports to three-time bil­lion­aire for­mer premier Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni. Though he de­nies link­ing up with Ber­lus­coni to se­cure the sup­port of his cen­tre-right Forza Italia party, the ru­mours are be­lieved to have se­verely dam­aged his chances.

Pi­etro Grasso

The for­mer anti-mafia pros­e­cu­tor, 71, is Italy’s se­nate speaker and has a straight ar­row rep­u­ta­tion. He rose to fame in the 1980s as an as­so­ci­ate judge in the first “maxi-trial” against the Si­cil­ian Cosa Nos­tra and led the probe into the mur­der of Pier­santi Mattarella, a Si­cil­ian pres­i­dent mown down by the mob. The slain man was cur­rent pres­i­dent Mattarella’s older brother. Grasso is the top choice if the job goes to an in­sti­tu­tional figure.

Laura Boldrini

Boldrini, 55, is speaker of the lower house of par­lia­ment and an out­sider’s choice. A fierce hu­man rights de­fender, she would be Italy’s first fe­male prime min­is­ter if she got the job.

A for­mer jour­nal­ist and spokes­woman for the UN’s refugee agency, she has been the vic­tim of vi­o­lent trolling but is ad­mired by many for her stand against xeno­pho­bia, ho­mo­pho­bia and vi­o­lence against women.

Mat­teo Renzi

That’s right, the out­go­ing 41-year-old prime min­is­ter him­self is be­ing touted as a pos­si­ble con­tender for his own job. Some ob­servers say he fears bow­ing out now would leave the door open to pop­ulist par­ties like the anti-euro Five Star Move­ment. But oth­ers say Renzi-al­ready slammed as ar­ro­gant by crit­ics-would be burn­ing his bridges and would risk los­ing when the coun­try returns to the bal­lot box, pos­si­bly as soon as early next year. — AFP

Mi­grants sit on the ground af­ter storm­ing a fence to en­ter the Span­ish en­clave of Ceuta yes­ter­day. The In­te­rior Min­istry says some 400 mi­grants from Africa have stormed a bor­der fence to en­ter Spain’s North African en­clave of Ceuta from Morocco early yes­ter­day. — AP

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