Rome

Renzi will run for Italian premier 'if conditions right'

Florence mayor seen to have broad, cross-party appeal

Renzi will run for Italian premier 'if conditions right'

Rome, March 13 - Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi says he is interested in running for premier if Italians have to go back to elections after an inconclusive vote last month. "If the conditions are right, I would," he told Italian weekly l'Espresso. Renzi, from the center-left Democratic Party (PD), lost in a primary election to PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani, who went on to lead a center-left coalition in general elections where no clear winner emerged. Political pundits have speculated that Renzi, who is younger and more moderate than Bersani, would have had a broader appeal in the general elections, which saw huge gains by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of comedian Beppe Grillo and a surprising comeback by center-right former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Together Grillo and Berlusconi, both of whom campaigned on euro-skeptic platforms, earned over 50% of the popular vote. Despite losing in the primary, the Florence mayor remained a team player, making campaign appearances with Bersani. "I stayed in the PD and with Bersani not just because I'm loyal to the company, but also because I think it helps Italy to have two big parties," he told l'Espresso.

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