Bersani to ‘become’ Italy’s next premier
ROME - Agence France-Presse
Bersani’s Democratic Party is tipped to do well in Italy’s elections. AFP PhotoDemocratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani emerged as a favorite to be Italy’s next prime minister after he won a center-left primary on Dec. 2 ahead of a general election.
The 61-year-old former communist party man and two-time government minister who spearheaded a liberalization program while in office have beaten off his rival, Florence’s Matteo Renzi. With more than 80 percent of the 9,200 polling places reporting, Bersani had 60.9 percent of votes to 39.1 percent for Renzi.
Bersani has said he will follow the broad course of reforms set by Prime Minister Mario Monti, who has pulled Italy back from the brink of bankruptcy. He has also said however he would push for more growth and jobs and moderate some of the austerity measures implemented by Monti. All recent opinion polls indicate the Democratic Party will win elections expected in March or April 2013, although without an outright majority.
Bersani now has an added advantage since the center-right has been mired in infighting and fraud inquiries since media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi resigned as prime minister in 2011 following a wave of scandals.