Democratic Party to meet Thursday over new leadership rules

'We will face this delicate issue' says secretary

Democratic Party to meet Thursday over new leadership rules

Rome, July 8 - The center-left Democratic Party (PD) will meet Thursday to decide rules for selecting a new leader who could become the party's next candidate to be premier of Italy, the interim secretary announced Monday. Guglielmo Epifani, who is acting secretary pending a party election, spoke after PD officials met. He confirmed a congress will be held later this year to decide if the next party secretary will also be its candidate to be premier. The centre-left party has been without an elected secretary since former leader Pier Luigi Bersani resigned in April amid rifts that saw two of the PD's own candidates to be Italian president scuppered by internal rebellions. "Next Thursday we will face this delicate issue," said Epifani. A date for the primaries to elect the next secretary and decide on other party regulations will be discussed at Thursday's meeting. Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi has been seen as a top candidate, but his share of the limelight has diminished since another young PD man, Enrico Letta, was sworn in as premier in April after being chosen by President Giorgio Napolitano to head an unprecedented left-right administration and end two months of political deadlock after the inconclusive February vote.

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