Matteo Renzi resigns as Democratic Party leader

The former Italian Prime Minister has formally resigned following the party's defeat in the latest parliamentary election 

Former Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has formally resigned as leader of the Democratic Party following the party’s defeat in the latest parliamentary election.

Party leaders named Maurizio Martina as the Democratic Party’s interim leader. He previously served as agriculture minister in the outgoing government.

Martina was quoted by the Italian news agency Ansa saying that the party intended to stick to Renzi’s plan to go into opposition and would not join any government.

No party or coalition won enough votes in the 4 March election, and talks will now determine whether the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) who won the most votes, or the rightwing coalition led by the anti-immigration league led by the anti-immigrant Lega can form a stable government.

Martina said Lega and the Five-Star Movement “don’t have any alibis now” and should “take their responsibility” to form a government.Earlier on Monday, The League leader, Matteo Salvini, rejected the idea of governing with the weakened PD or current prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, hours after former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi,  called for the PD’s support in order to avoid fresh elections.

“The Italians did not vote for us to bring Renzi back to government. Do you think a League voter wants Gentiloni in power?” Salvini told reporters after a party meeting in Milan.

The new parliament sits for the first time on 23 March.

One of its first duties will be to elect presidents for the two chambers, which will give a first glimpse of party dynamics within the legislature. 

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