Renzi says party backs his call to remain in opposition

Italy's Renzi digs in heels against Five Star deal

Italy's Renzi digs in heels against Five Star deal

Italy's ruling party will discuss whether it should play the role of potential kingmaker following its defeat in inconclusive elections a week ago as it plots a course forward without former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

No party or coalition won enough votes to govern alone in the March 4 parliamentary vote, setting the stage for arduous talks to see if either the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement or the center-right coalition led by the anti-immigrant League can form a stable government. The newly appointed interim leader, Maurizio Martina, was quoted by the Italian news agency Ansa as saying that the party meant to stick to Renzi's plan to go into opposition and would not join any government.

After a contentious election campaign, Martina said the League and the 5-Stars "don't have any alibis now", and should "take their responsibility" to form a government.

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The Democratic Party's leadership will meet in Rome Monday to acknowledge the resignation of Renzi, its general secretary. "We intend to deeply respect the vote of all Italians" by refusing to become a junior member of a rightwing or populist-led government. It will also begin discussion on a common stance ahead of talks on forming a governing coalition that will begin after the new parliament convenes in Rome on March 23.

Italian media speculation is growing that the only way out of the parliamentary deadlock maybe a national unity government backed by all the main parties. However, looking to forge ties with the centre-left, Forza Italia suggested the conservatives should back a PD candidate in one of the chambers.

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