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Italy's Renzi re-elected head of ruling Democrats

Emmanuel Dunand / AFP | Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi addresses the press while campaigning for the Italian Democratic Party leadership, in Brussels on April 28, 2017.

Former prime minister Matteo Renzi won the leadership of Italy's ruling Democratic Party (PD) in a primary election Sunday, propelling him back to the forefront of the national political scene.

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Renzi, 42, resigned as prime minister in December after Italians overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional referendum aimed at streamlining the parliamentary system.

Some two million people voted and Renzi himself had set the bar for success at one million voters.

Renzi's win was announced by him and his two rivals -- Justice Minister Andrea Orlando and Michele Emiliano -- well ahead of the end of counting.

According to preliminary estimates, Renzi bagged 70 percent of the vote.

"It is a huge responsibility. I thank from the bottom of my heart those men and women who believe in Italy," he tweeted.

"This is not the second half of the same match, it's a new match," he said in a victory speech. "This is the beginning of a completely new story."

French presidential frontrunner and centrist Emmanuel Macron tweeted his congratulations to Renzi Monday, writing that Renzi was “en marche [moving forward], too”. “En Marche !” is the name of Macron’s political party.

Renzi tweeted back in French, pledging to support Macron: “Thank you, dear Emmanuel! We’re with you. Long live France, long live Europe (which we will change together)”.

When he first took over the leadership in December 2013, Renzi won the backing of close on 68 percent of 2.8 million voters.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

 

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