Former Italian Prime Minister Renzi,Regains Party Leadership

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Less than five months after resigning as Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi has regained leadership of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) with an overwhelming victory in a primary election among party supporters.

According to partial results, Renzi had about 72 percent of the vote, held in makeshift polling booths around the country. About 2 million party members voted in the primary. Justice Minister Andrea Orlando had 19 percent while Michele Emiliano, the governor of the southern Puglia region, had about 9 percent.

Both of his opponents, as well as Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, called to congratulate him, and Renzi gave a long victory speech at party headquarters.

“Forward together,” Renzi said to applause.

Renzi, 42, resigned as prime minister in December after a crushing defeat in a referendum over constitutional reforms aimed at streamlining lawmaking. He was replaced by Gentiloni, his foreign minister, but he quickly began planning a comeback.

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