Enrico Letta, leader of the Democratic Party, is Italy’s main centre-left force and the main rival of Giorgia Meloni, whose political movement leads opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s early legislative elections.
Letta, 56, once served as the country’s prime minister.
He led a coalition that included centre-right forces after a 2013 election failed to produce a clear majority. But he lost the premiership after just 10 months when fellow ambitious Democrat Matteo Renzi maneuvered to take the job for himself.
Burned by the ousting, Letta left to teach in Paris at the prestigious Sciences Po university. With chronic infighting plaguing Democrats, he returned to Italy to take over the reins of the party in March 2021.
Letta was foiled in his quest to build a strong centre-left electoral alliance to challenge Meloni and his allies in Sunday’s election when the populist Five Star movement, the largest party in the outgoing parliament, helped bring down the government of Draghi this summer.
The Democratic Party leads a left-wing coalition that lags behind in the polls the right-wing bloc of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy; Matteo Salvini’s Northern League; and Silvio Berlusconi’s Go Italy.
Letta’s party has a largely moderate and pro-European stance, and vehemently opposes Putin and the war in Ukraine. He also openly supports LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and legislation to combat homophobia.
He particularly warns against the rise of the Brothers of Italy, which he considers likely to trigger a wave of authoritarianism.
Learn more about Letta in the video above.