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ROME – Recently drubbed by voters, Italian ex-Premier Matteo Renzi says his Democratic Party must be more united, humble and in synch with citizens as he eyes elections expected in 2017.
Renzi resigned after voters rejected a reforms referendum on Dec. 4. As leader of the Democrats, Parliament's largest party, Renzi gave delegates a pep talk in Rome on Sunday. He says Democrats' "efficiency outstripped our empathy" toward citizens.
The No. 2 party in Parliament is the opposition, populist 5-Star Movement. Founder Beppe Grillo is scrambling to do damage control as scandals engulf some top aides to Rome's 5-Star mayor, Virginia Raggi. A 5-Star leader, Alessandro Di Battista, says sometimes "honesty and ingenuousness go hand-in-in." The scandals are embarrassing as the party aims for national power for the first time in elections.