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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ROME (Reuters) – Italian center-left leader Matteo Renzi called on Thursday for swift reform of an electoral system blamed for the country’s bouts of political deadlock and said he expected an agreement could be completed within weeks.
Renzi is not in the government but as head of the Democratic Party, the biggest party in Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s left-right coalition, he will have a decisive role to play in shaping the political agenda and has already called for quicker action on reforms.
ROME (Reuters) – Italy delayed the start of its planned Internet tax until July 2014, approved billions of euros in business and welfare measures and extended a ban on media cross-ownership in a final package of year-end legislation approved on Friday.
The launch of an Internet tax, sometimes dubbed the “Google tax”, passed this week by parliament, will be postponed until July, 1, 2014, Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s office said in a statement. The delay should ensure it can be more closely coordinated with other European countries.
ROME (Reuters) – Italian authorities began clearing a migrant reception center on the island of Lampedusa on Tuesday after a row over harsh living conditions that prompted detainees to sew their lips together in protest.
The facility, originally intended to house up to 850 migrants for up to 48 hours before transfer to other centers, has been steadily transformed into a long-term refugee camp where detainees are housed in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, prompting domestic and international criticism.
ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta promised on Monday to present a formal coalition pact in January with reforms ranging from an overhaul of the electoral law to cuts to bureaucracy and taxes.
Letta, appointed to head a grand coalition of left and right after last February’s deadlocked elections, said 2014 would be the year in which a new generation of leaders could launch reforms to pull Italy out of two decades of stagnation.