Italy coalition ally Alfano says future open on backing for Renzi

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 13, 2014 3:11 AM

ROME (Reuters) - The small center-right party that supports Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta's coalition left it open on Thursday whether it would continue to support the government if Letta's own center-left party withdraws its backing from the premier.

Letta is fighting for his political future after criticism over the slow pace of economic reforms piled pressure on him to resign and allow the head of his center-left Democratic Party (PD) Matteo Renzi to take over as head of a new government.

Angelino Alfano, deputy prime minister and head of the New Center Right party said Letta could count on a "loyal, correct and fruitful alliance" as long as he retained the backing of the PD, whose leadership committee meets later on Thursday to decide on the future of the government.

But he declined to say whether his group would remain in coalition with the PD if Letta is forced to step down in favor of Renzi.

"We're not taking anything for granted and we will consider this possibility once it is confirmed," he told Canale 5 television.

(Reporting By James Mackenzie)