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Feb 13, 2014

Italian government in crisis as Renzi calls for change

ROME, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Italian centre-left leader Matteo
Renzi called on Prime Minister Enrico Letta to step down on
Thursday and said their party, the biggest in the ruling
coalition, should choose a new premier to lead the government.

After weeks of tension between the two main figures in the
centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the biggest in the ruling
coalition, Renzi’s call for change appeared to seal the fate of
Letta, who did not attend the PD meeting called to discuss
whether the party should continue to support Letta.

Feb 13, 2014

Italian government in crisis as PM Letta fights calls to go

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta faces a showdown with his own center-left party on Thursday that could lead to his resignation and the appointment of Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi as head of a new government within days.

Letta, head of the unwieldy coalition patched together after last year’s deadlocked elections, is fighting for his political future after growing criticism from Renzi over the slow pace of economic reforms.

Feb 12, 2014

Italian PM defies call to go, after showdown with rival

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta defied pressure to resign on Wednesday to let center-left leader Matteo Renzi form a government, saying anyone who wanted him out must say so openly and outline what they would do in his place.

Letta’s comments came at the end of a day of mounting tensions in Rome where the two men met for what the prime minister described as a “frank” encounter in his office.

Feb 11, 2014

Italy PM vows reforms as tensions with Renzi grow

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta promised new measures to lift the economy on Tuesday after weeks of tension over the slow pace of reform fanned speculation that he could be replaced as premier by his party leader Matteo Renzi.

Renzi, who took over the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) in December, has said the government would be better off calling new elections if it is unable to push reforms more effectively and has openly criticized his party colleague Letta.

Feb 10, 2014

Italian President Napolitano under fire over Monti appointment

ROME (Reuters) – Italian President Giorgio Napolitano faced fierce criticism on Monday over reports that he asked Mario Monti about replacing Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister months before his government fell at the height of the euro zone crisis in 2011.

Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party expressed “bitterness and shock” at the reports, based on interviews with Monti and others in a forthcoming book by journalist Alan Friedman, extract of which were published by the Financial Times and the Corriere della Sera newspapers.

Feb 3, 2014

Italy’s 5-Star Movement in bitter row over parliament speaker

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement faced strong criticism on Monday after attacks and online insults against the speaker of the lower house Laura Boldrini, who responded by branding her critics “potential rapists”.

Boldrini’s retort followed days of escalating tensions in parliament where deputies of Beppe Grillo’s Movement, angry over moves to push through approval of government decrees, have blocked committee work and clashed with rival parties.

Jan 26, 2014

Italy minister resigns, adding to headaches for government

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo resigned on Sunday, following heavy criticism after she was caught on tape discussing public contracts, adding a further complication to Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s fragile coalition.

De Girolamo, a member of the small New Centre Right (NCD) party which supports Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s left-right coalition, denied any wrongdoing in the affair and said that she had quit her ministerial post to defend her dignity.

Jan 26, 2014

Italy’s Renzi faces battle in parliament on election reform

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s center-left leader Matteo Renzi faces opposition in parliament next week over electoral reform plans agreed with Silvio Berlusconi which are being closely watched as a test of wider reforms in the euro zone’s third largest economy.

The measures are aimed at fixing a system blamed for last year’s election deadlock which left no side able to form a government and forced the two main parties of left and right into a fragile coalition that has struggled to pass reforms.

Jan 23, 2014

Italy’s Renzi flexes muscles in electoral reform drive

ROME (Reuters) – Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi’s brisk dismissal of party critics who opposed a deal with their old nemesis Silvio Berlusconi on electoral reform has injected momentum into a political system frozen in deadlock for months.

The package now comes before parliament where a wily caste of lobbyists is long practiced in smothering ambitious reform plans in back-room amendments. But for the moment, the initiative lies with the 39-year-old mayor of Florence.

Jan 20, 2014

Italy’s Renzi outlines electoral reform plan, defies critics

ROME (Reuters) – Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi promised on Monday to reform an electoral system blamed for creating chronic political deadlock, defying party critics who had attacked him for sealing a deal on the proposals with arch-enemy Silvio Berlusconi.

The 39-year-old mayor of Florence, who won the leadership of the Democratic Party (PD) in December, said he would eliminate the fragmentation that has made it impossible for successive Italian governments to survive a full term in office.