By Alessandra Cardone
ROME, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Italy will see a broad round of political consultation in the coming weeks, which are expected to lead up to a "pact" among government's forces and guarantee stability to the country's path toward long-needed reforms.
Consultation began on Tuesday and is expected to run until the end of January. It will be led by both Prime Minister Enrico Letta and Matteo Renzi, the young new leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
The circumstance might appear quite odd. "It is indeed quite peculiar, and not just for Italy, to see a prime minister and the leader of the country's biggest party leading simultaneous and separate consultation with almost the same actors," commented Fabio Martini, analyst with La Stampa newspaper.
"Yet, this is the clear result of an anomaly: February elections were inconclusive, the Democratic Party won but did not gain enough support in Parliament to impose its own prime minister, and a compromise was thus needed," Martini explained to Xinhua.
Letta, 47, represents that "compromise": he belongs to PD but was not his own party's direct "choice", rather the president of Republic's choice. Since April 2013, he leads a fragile coalition's cabinet supported now by a new centre-right party (former allies of the media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi) and some minor centrist forces, along with PD.
Letta postponed an official bilateral summit with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, scheduled on January 17th in Istanbul, to be able to work more closely on the consultation. His cabinet aims to tackle the long economic crisis and a record high unemployment rate (12.5 percent at national level, over 40 percent among young people). Letta also vowed to reform the huge Italian political machinery, reducing its costs and making it easier to lead the country.
Both Letta and Renzi have declared they are working to make the cabinet last another year, at least, in order to gain sufficient time to implement the crucial economic and institutional reforms.
Both leaders will hold talks with major political forces supporting the cabinet and discuss what the "2014 reform agenda" must comprise.
If successful, this "government's pact" will prove useful to the country, according to the analyst.
"It would be clearly a good step: a change in the electoral system's, with a majority rule to give more stable governments; a Senate deprived of its law-making equal status with the lower House, that would speed up our legislation procedures; a cut in the numbers and costs of MPs and a reform of the job market... all this, if implemented, would do much good to Italy," Fabio Martini said.
The ultimate goal of the two leaders may not be exactly alike, however.
"PM Letta is expected to be focused on a wider program to include the most relevant reforms," Martini explained. "Renzi's top priority, on the other hand, will be reforming the electoral law because this would allow him to become the real play-maker of Italy's politics."
From this point of view, the analyst warned, even a government pact would not guarantee "100 percent" Letta's cabinet to live until spring 2015, when next general election are widely expected.
"If the electoral law is reformed and a majority rule implemented, Renzi would have two options: calling an end to this government and go to snap elections, hoping to win and rule the country; or using this option as a 'threat' towards political allies, to force them to work on reforms of his choice. In both cases, he would find himself in a strong position," Martini explained to Xinhua.
The young leader of the centre-left PD party and mayor of Florence, however, has repeatedly declared he has no intention to undermine the cabinet led by his party's fellow.
"The relationship between PM Letta and Mr. Renzi might thus result in a sort of 'competitive coexistence' for the next months," Martini suggested.
Letta wants to strike the deal between January 20th and 26th, according to the analyst, in order to face the next European Commission's meeting, on January 29th, with a "government's pact" based on a clear reforms agenda. "Italian public finances are still under surveillance from the European Union, though informally, and this pact would put Letta in a stronger position before our partners,"Martini concluded.