Italy’s centre-left alliance strengthened as another group signs up

ROME: Italy’s left-wing Greens federation agreed on Saturday (August 6th) to join an electoral alliance led by the Democratic Party (PD), in a move seen as strengthening the centre-left ahead of next month’s elections.

The poll is set for September 25 and polls show a conservative alliance is on course for victory, with the far-right Brothers of Italy set to be the largest single party. Italian electoral law favors parties that form broad alliances.

“I am happy to be able to present this agreement which is necessary (…) because the electoral law punishes isolation”, declared the secretary of the PD, Enrico Letta, during a press conference.

“The right did not waste a minute before concluding an alliance…unlike them, we wanted to discuss first.”

The PD, the largest centre-left party with around 24% of the vote, had already agreed to team up with the centrist party Azione.

Later on Saturday, Letta also announced a deal with Impegno Civico, a small centrist party just founded by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio who quit the populist 5-Star movement last month.

Azione and its current ally +Europa only garner around 5-7% in the polls, while the Green/Left list sits around 4%.

The conservative alliance led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy includes the right-wing League and the more moderate Forza Italia party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He’s currently polling at around 45 percent.

The left-wing federation initially condemned the PD pact with Azione, saying it failed to take into account the social and environmental issues at the heart of the green platform.

Sinistra Italiana, which forms the federation with the small Europa Verde party, also criticized both parties for praising the government of outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Letta on Saturday sought to bridge the differences, saying issues of “environmental and social sustainability” would be central to the campaign.

He ruled out expanding the alliance further, saying it had already been difficult to build it in its current form. A PD source said Letta meant he ruled out expanding the alliance to include the 5 Star Movement.

“Hopefully for the next 50 days, a sense of responsibility prevails over everything else,” Letta said.

“We have a responsibility to prevent Italy from ending up with the first right-wing government in its history.”