Italy's former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and centrist leader Carlo Calenda on Thursday reached a deal to ally their two small parties ahead of the Sept. 25 general election.
The agreement came after Calenda pulled out of an electoral pact with the center-left Democratic Party, paving the way to the creation of a so-called "third pole," able to attract votes from the centrist and moderate electorate shunned by the rival center-right and center-left blocs.
Renzi's Italia Viva and Calenda's Action parties are hoping to steal relevant votes from ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, which has traditionally represented moderate voters but is now teaming up with the far-right League and Brothers of Italy.
Renzi said in a Facebook post that Calenda will be the front man in the ongoing electoral campaign.
"Now we're at work with our Action's friends to save Italy from nationalists and populist forces … Italy needs us to avoid a populist nightmare and dream again of good politics," Italia Viva's leader said.
Both Renzi and Calenda are basing their political campaign on the reformist agenda of Mario Draghi, the outgoing Italian premier forced to resign last month after three of his main coalition parties shunned a key confidence vote.
According to recent polls, Italia Viva is hovering at around 3%, while Action is seen alone at around 2%, after deciding to leave to the electoral deal with the Democratic Party.
The third pole created by Renzi and Calenda could then reach around 5-6% of the vote, far behind the Democratic Party's 23%.
Even if the center-left and the third pole decide to team up in a post-election deal, their combined forces would still lag far behind the rival center-right bloc, which is leading polls at almost 45%.
The alliance, led by Giorgia Meloni and her hard-right Brothers of Italy party, topping polls at around 24%, is favored to win the September elections and potentially give Italy its first woman and post-fascist prime minister.
In a video message recorded in three languages, Meloni on Wednesday tried to reassure European partners that her possible win does not represent a risk for Italian democracy and that her party has clearly distanced itself from the fascist past.
"The Italian right has handed fascism over to history for decades now, unambiguously condemning the suppression of democracy and the ignominious anti-Jewish laws," she said in the video.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.