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  • Given the disaffection in the Italian electorate, not a single pundit dared to predict that two million people would turn out for Sunday's Partito Democratico (PD) primaries to elect a new general secretary. So guess what: a stunningly large number, almost three million, defied chill weather and Christmas shopping traffic jams to stand in line to vote in the 8,400 impromptu polling stations set up by volunteers all over Italy. As predicted, Matteo Renzi, the 38-year-old, fast-talking mayor of Florence since 2009, won the three-way race, but here too the surprise was that he claimed the support of over two out of three voters, or, with 1.7 million votes to his credit, almost 70%. It was, as the media here are saying, "an avalanche," "a tsunami."
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(December 01, 2013)
    The now splintered conservative parties represented by Silvio Berlusconi and his former alter ego Angelino Alfano slip at least momentarily into the background this week as the Partito Democratico (PD) finally takes center-stage. Opening December 8, the PD national convention will sanction the election of a new general secretary expected to represent a crucial generational shift away from the old-style politicians of the past. Three candidates are in the running in primaries throughout the country.