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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.

Jan 2, 2014

Italy’s Renzi pushes for change on election law

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.

Dec 27, 2013

Italy delays ‘Google tax’ until July, OKs funds for business, welfare

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.