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So, apparently Italian govt will learn his fate tonight, as former PM & leader of tiny Italia Viva party, @matteorenzi, is hosted with great fanfare by major current affairs programme #portaaporta.
@matteorenzi He’s promised to make an important statement, certainly would prefer to "retire" @GiuseppeConteIT and change PM.

There’s a small hitch: he cannot know for sure how many senators from is own party are ready to switch sides & continue to support Conte if he pulls the plug on him.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT 3/ & even if he knew that, he cannot know how many from Forza Italia & ‘gruppo misto’ (including former M5S reps) may be willing to do the same. Because he does not know what incentives good old PD & M5S may have offered them in private.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT 4/ Convincing ten senators to switch sides (this is how many would be needed) is a challenge, despite this being a pastime for some. Meet an expert, ex President of Chamber of Deputies Pier Ferdinando Casini, so good at recycling that he should give lectures on plastic pollution
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT 5/ Casini started his career in Christian Democracy. When that disappeared in early 90s, guessed there might still be a few voters around missing the party, hence created the minnow" Christian Democratic Centre".

Its USP: if you miss the DC, vote for us.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT 6/ Got him a safe job as an appendix of @berlusconi’s Forza Italia in government, helping the PM substantiate his claim to be a moderate (“you see: it’s full of Christian democrats in here...”).
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 7/ Around 2004, Casini decided @berlusconi was on the way out (AS IF!!) & started challenging his authority to gain visibility (a common strategy among minnows).

Finally, by 2008, they weren’t allies anymore.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 8/ Casini got his calculations wrong, like many others before him, as Berlusconi proceeded to win big anyway in 2008.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 9/ Forward to 2018, and Casini is re-elected as senator in the single-member college of Bologna... thanks to the side Berlusconi has fought all his life: the centre left (by then known as PD).
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 10/ A Bolognese himself but, more importantly, standing in constituency where PD support still counts for something, not unexpectedly Casini got re-elected. Here he is, under Gramsci’s and Togliatti’s watchful eye (“Don’t say anything Christian Democratic, Pier Ferdinando...”).
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 11/ Oh, the advantages of being “in the centre”.. You can always fluctuate, & then say that it's others who have moved in your direction.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 12/ There are a few Casini in the Senate, even more so since the number of senators and MPs is very likely to be cut in the near future – making it more difficult for each one of them to get re-elected.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 13/ I would love to be a fly on the wall & hear what Conte has said to them in those private conversations...
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 14/ Elections cannot take place in the immediate future anymore, as a referendum will be held in March on reducing the number of MPs/senators, & that will have to be followed by a redrawing of the country’s constituencies.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 15/ This takes us to the autumn at the earliest, post-budget. It would be first time an autumn election takes place in the Republic’s history, but it' not an impossibility.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi 16/ What we can be sure of is that Conte will pull ALL the stops to avoid this scenario & to live to fight another day. Depending on how many "switchers" he finds, he may well succeed (he has been underestimated before, including by myself). It's hard, but doable.

@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi He may only have 4% of the vote, according to polls. But he is driving the agenda alright. "Wait and see". Indeed.…
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi "Italia viva" as private property, the very essence of the personal party. No transparent consultation of party reps, no debate of different options, nothing.

Instead: an announcement on #portaaporta.

Ipse dixit.

Someone else used to drive agenda like this... who was it?

@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi Much ado abt nothing at #portaaporta tonight. All eyes on him, Renzi goes on TV to make “proposals” that he knows will NEVER fly (direct election of PM.. as if constitutional reforms of this magnitude that could not be completed when the centre-right or centre-left were in govt..
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi ...could be achieved now, with the kind of heterogeneous govt the country has today...)

A LOT of hot air. The bottom line is: Renzi is not pulling the plug on the govt.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi “All change all change”... then he gets cold feet as soon as he finds out that good old Conte may have an ace up his sleeve.
@matteorenzi @GiuseppeConteIT @berlusconi He may have captured the headlines for the day, but Renzi doesn’t come out well all this. However one dresses it, this is a hot air balloon heading nowhere.

I'm going to bed already.
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