Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta was elected leader of the Democratic Party (PD) this Sunday. Letta called for an end to the internal wars in the center-left party and called for the unity of the militants before the next Italian parliamentary elections.
His election comes after Nicola Zingaretti abruptly resigned from the PD leadership and declared he was “embarrassed” about the disputes within the party that supports the national unity government led by Mario Draghi.
“Our politics should be reduced to two dimensions that seem very far apart: the soul and a screwdriver. We have to join them and never part them again. If we just use our souls, our ideas will never succeed, ”said Letta, 54, in his speech before he was appointed Secretary General of the PD.
With 860 votes in favor, 2 against and 4 abstentions, the former prime minister, who was the only candidate for office, becomes the ninth leader of the PD, the party he co-founded in 2007.
Letta is returning to the top of Italian politics after leading a coalition government between 2013 and 2014 that brought together center-left and center-right parties.
He was later removed from office by Matteo Renzi, his opponent within the PD. He left the party in 2019 to start Italia Viva.
In a speech of about an hour in which he quoted Pope Francis and the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, Letta asked the party to renew itself, opening the door to future alliances and avoiding internal disputes.
The PD has struggled in recent years, lost voters, and gave ground to the central and right-wing parties in regions where it has always been historically rooted.
“We are the engine of the Draghi government and we have to prepare for what comes next when we go to the elections. With the initiative and leadership of the PD, we want to build a new center-left party, ”said Letta.
The former prime minister said he would speak to all left and middle parties, including the 5-star movement, in the coming weeks.
Enrico Letta, moderate and pro-European, also announced that his political agenda will focus on unemployment, women and young people.
His proposals include lowering the voting age from the current 18 to 16 and granting citizenship to children of foreign immigrants born in Italy.