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Scout Renzi tells Italy to be prepared for comeback


Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi/ AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO

Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi/ AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO

Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi confirmed Sunday that he wants to continue in politics, saying his experience as a boy scout had taught him the virtues of perseverance.

Left with no option but to quit after a heavy defeat in a referendum on constitutional reform, Renzi admitted it had been a wrench to leave office.

“It was painful to pack the cartons yesterday evening, I’m not ashamed to say: I’m not a robot,” Renzi wrote in a long, whimsical post on his Facebook page.

The outgoing premier, who has relocated to his family home in Pontassieve, Tuscany, depicted his departure as a dignified clean break.

“I go back to being a simple citizen. I don’t have any parachute. I don’t have a parliamentary seat, I don’t have a salary or a pension for life, I don’t have immunity,” he said.

“I’m making a fresh start, which is how it should be. Politics for me is serving the country, not serving yourself.”

He added: “I also know from my experience of being a scout that the point of getting somewhere is to be able to leave again. And it is when the road is hardest that you see who your real friends are.

“To the millions of Italians who want a future of ideas and hope for our country, I say that we will not flag in our efforts to try again and to start again.

“There are thousands of lights that shine in the Italian night. We will try again to reach for them … only those who try to change things can help a country as beautiful and difficult as Italy.

“We will talk soon, friends.”

Renzi remains leader of his Democratic Party and barring a major surprise is likely to be its candidate for prime minister at the next election, which must take place by February 2018 and may well come sooner than that.

Renzi ally Paolo Gentiloni, the current foreign minister, was set to be appointed as prime minister Sunday with a brief to guide Italy to the elections.

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