Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi emerged victorious in a Democratic Party primary election, reflecting a remarkable comeback for the 42-year-old politician.
Renzi won more than 70% of the vote in Sunday’s primary among party supporters, far ahead of two other contenders, a BBC report said.
The victory for the 42-year-old politician comes less than five months after he was compelled to resign in the wake of a failed gambit to tamp down the rise of the euroskeptic 5 Star Movement, which has urged Italians to hold a vote to exit the European Union.
Renzi’s Democratic Party is Italy’s largest establishment party, but as The Wall Street Journal has reported, the center-left, pro-Europe party has faced a stiff challenge from the 5 Star Movement. Italy is wrestling with a fragile banking system that has threatened to bring the EU’s third-largest economy to its knees.
The election took place ahead of the arrival of dozens of foreign delegations to Sicily for a G-7 convention and ahead of a planned tête-à-tête between Renzi and former President Barack Obama on May 8.
Italy’s vote follows a parade of closely watched elections in Europe, amid the rise of populism, highlighted by the U.K.’s referendum last June to abandon its EU membership.
On April 23, centrist Emmanuel Macron won a first-round election in France. He will face off against far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in a May 7 presidential election runoff that could decide the fate of the EU.
The crucial elections have put Wall Street on edge because they threaten to disrupt the status quo in Europe. Worries about what’s next often have weighed on the euro and roiled European equity benchmarks. Italy’s FTSE MIB rose 0.1% to 20,609.16 on Friday, as early polls put Renzi’s victory as very likely. Italian government bonds were yielding 2.28% as of the market’s close late Friday in New York.
Most European markets were closed on Monday for the holiday known as May Day or International Workers’ Day.
Surprising outcomes in European elections can ripple into U.S. markets, knocking around prices of stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index, which have been rallying since President Donald Trump’s election in November.