On 14 October 2007, primaries took place to elect the representatives
and political secretary of the Democratic Party (PD). According to
official figures provided by the organizers of the election, 3,554,169
people voted, with 75.79 percent choosing Walter Veltroni as secretary.
He, along with Romano Prodi and their friends, celebrated the results
in Rome on the same evening. The PD seemed to see the light of day
under the best possible conditions, but it also did so under peculiar
conditions. The electors who chose the leaders of the party were not
necessarily its future members, and they knew almost nothing about
the party’s status, organization, program, or strategy. The PD primaries
thus reflect a deep-seated trend that affects Western parties, yet
they also diverge from this trend. Although there is an increasing tendency
for primaries to be organized, they are usually held by parties
already in existence and, in the vast majority of cases, involve only the
members of that party.