ROME, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Italy's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) asked for an urgent change of government to give a boost to reforms on Thursday, in a decision that could trigger the resignation of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
"The Democratic Party asks for a change of government," PD leader Matteo Renzi said during a live-streamed crisis meeting the party leadership group held in Rome.
"We need a radical change, and we ask for a new government that could last until the natural end of the legislature in 2018, with the same coalition forces we have today, in order to better tackle the economic and social emergency and fully implement the reform agenda," Renzi added.
The PD meeting, originally scheduled for next week, was brought forward because of a bitter confrontation underway between Matteo Renzi and Letta, and speculations had been on the rise for days that the power struggle could result in the formation of a new Italian government.
In this case, as leader of the largest party in Parliament, Renzi would be seen as the most likely new premier.
The young centre-left leader thanked Letta, who also belong to the PD, for "his hard work with a cabinet born last year under the most delicate and difficult circumstances for Italy."
Nonetheless, he added, the government has now showed its limits and the country needs to emerge "from the swamp".
"We are all aware of the difficulties the current government has been facing in the last two months and we all have to take our own responsibilities," Renzi said to the PD leadership. "The road I am suggesting is the hardest and most risky one," he admitted.
Letta did not take part in the meeting, in order to leave his party's fellows "free to take their decision with serenity", he wrote in a statement.
According to local media, a last attempt to solve the confrontation and offer a 'honourable exit' to him was made on Thursday morning but failed, with Letta refusing to undertake the Economy Ministry. Political sources from the PD, however, dismissed the rumours.
Renzi, 39-year-old mayor of Florence and elected PD leader in December, has come to increasingly criticize the prime minister in latest months over a lack of action and slow pace of his cabinet in implementing reforms that could give a boost to an exhausted recession-hit economy.
Though declaring he had no will to 'replace' Letta, Renzi recently said the government would better resign, if unable to implement effective reforms.
Letta, who was appointed last April after inconclusive elections in February, turned down the criticism over his work and made it clear he had no intention to resign 'voluntarily'. He rather unveiled a broader reforms agenda called "Commitment Italy" on Wednesday, asking for more time to put in action all the measures.
"The government and the agenda must be tied to the implementation of crucial reforms, some of which already underway, and not to some theoretical deadlines," Letta said on Wednesday.
Letta has cancelled an official visit scheduled for Feb. 24-25 to Britain, according to a report from the Financial Times.