Rome

Friuli win gives respite for crisis-hit centre-left PD

Party top brass set to hold tense meeting Tuesday

Friuli win gives respite for crisis-hit centre-left PD

(see related stories on political situation) Rome, April 23 - Italy's crisis-hit centre-left Democratic Party (PD) has been given some respite from its internal divisions by the victory of its candidate, Debora Serracchiani, in elections in the north-eastern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The PD is set to have a tense party meeting later on Tuesday following Pier Luigi Bersani's decision to quit as leader at the weekend after two candidates he proposed to become Italian president were scuppered by internal rebellions. The chaos is such that it is not yet clear who will represent the PD, the biggest party in parliament after February's inconclusive general election, at Tuesday's consultations with re-elected President Giorgio Napolitano on forming a new government. Tuesday's party meeting is likely to discuss, among other things, who will be the PD's caretaker leader until a congress later this year elects a new secretary. There are also likely to be some heated discussions and calls for around 100 centre-left lawmakers and regional representatives who failed to vote for Bersani's second presidential candidate, ex-premier Romano Prodi, to come out in the open. New Friuli-Venezia Giulia Governor Serracchiani, 42, is considered one of the PD's brightest upcoming figures. She has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009. She defeated centre-right incumbent Renzo Tondo by the narrowest of margins, winning 39.39% of the vote compared to Tondo's 39%, after Monday's results showed an extremely low turnout of just over 50%. The candidate of the 5-Star Movement, Saverio Galluzzo, won only 19.21%, 8.5% down in the vote the anti-establishment group gained in the region in February's general election.

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