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Italy's premier-designate Renzi starts consultations to form new gov't

English.news.cn   2014-02-19 05:52:46

by Marzia De Giuli

ROME, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Center-left leader Matteo Renzi on Tuesday started party talks in a bid to form Italy's new government after he accepted with reserve the government-formation mandate from the president, Giorgio Napolitano.

The secretary of Democratic Party (PD) and current mayor of Florence, 39, won likely support of the New Center Right (NCD) party, seen as crucial to secure a majority in parliament.

"We say yes to a government led by Renzi backed by the same left-right coalition that Enrico Letta had. We say no to a left or center-left government," the NCD leader Angelino Alfano said.

The NCD was part of the outgoing left-right government led by former Prime Minister Letta after the group split from three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) last year.

Earlier on Tuesday, Renzi had positive sessions with representatives of minor formations. Civic Choice, a centrist party founded by former Prime Minister Mario Monti, confirmed support to him.

"There must be radical change in Italy," the party secretary Stefania Giannini said. She said her group agreed with Renzi's priorities: reforms of the labor, fiscal and public-administration systems.

Other small groups confirmed their backing and hope that a parliamentary majority supporting the new premier-designate can be realized as soon as possible.

On the contrary, rightist regionalist party Northern League and left-wing Left, Ecology and Freedom (SEL) said they will be unavailable to back the new government.

"We have never thought of voting for an unelected government," the Northern League secretary Matteo Salvini said.

The SEL representatives complained that Renzi was likely to have to govern with more or less the same unstable alliance of left, right and centrist forces that supported Letta.

Letta, who used to be vice president of PD, was forced to resign from premiership last week after Renzi called a meeting of the PD leadership to oust him after increasingly blaming his government for ineffective pace in dealing with the economic crisis.

The anti-establishment Five-Star Movement (M5S), the biggest opposition party in parliament, said it would let members vote online on whether meet with Renzi or not as a sign of protest.

Talks are set to conclude on Wednesday with representatives from PD, the largest group in parliament, and from FI that has already announced a "constructive opposition."

If the consultations end well, the premier-designate will be able to form a new government by the end of this week, Regional Affairs Minister Graziano Delrio, a close ally of Renzi, said on Tuesday.

Renzi has wished that his government could last until 2018 and has set timely reform targets, including changes to simplify Italy's costly political system, to relaunch the troubled economy.

Italy was slowly emerging from recession, with the spread between 10-year bond and the German counterpart narrowing to less than 190 basis points on Tuesday for the first time since 2011, though amid declining consumption, record low income and unemployment of over 12 percent.

Artisans and owners of businesses took the streets in Rome on Tuesday calling for government help, days after a report showed some 134,000 small businesses have gone bankrupt in Italy since 2008.

Editor: yan
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