Italian PM-designate to present gov't by Saturday

AP News
Posted: Feb 19, 2014 11:56 AM
Italian PM-designate to present gov't by Saturday

ROME (AP) — Italian premier-designate Matteo Renzi wrapped up talks Wednesday with both likely coalition partners and opposition leaders, promising to put together a new government by the end of the week.

Renzi said he needed another day or so to develop his recipe for reviving the economy by encouraging hiring and reining in taxes. Also topping his agenda are reforms to overhaul an electoral system that has repeatedly yielded political paralysis. Earlier this week, Italy's president gave the Democratic Party leader the mandate to try to forge a viable coalition, and Renzi expressed confidence he would be able to report back on Saturday that he has succeeded.

He told reporters he expected on Monday to put his government up for required votes of confidence in both the lower Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

While serving as Florence mayor, Renzi engineered the fall of his party colleague Enrico Letta's government last week. Renzi is expected to have to rely on the same coalition that proved shaky during much of Letta's 10 months in office.

Unable to count on a reliable majority in Parliament, Renzi courted former Premier Silvio Berlusconi and comic Beppe Grillo, who lead the two main opposition forces, in hopes of clinching their support on legislation.

Berlusconi, who is kept out of office by a tax fraud conviction but still leads his center-right Forza Italia party, promised to keep his word to Renzi on back electoral reforms.

In a meeting streamed live on Italian TV, Grillo told Renzi his anti-establishment 5 Star Movement would refuse to give Renzi any support. The Grillo camp is the third largest force in Parliament.

Grillo, who cannot hold public office due to a manslaughter conviction, joked that the premier-designate had just met with "two convicts not in Parliament — me and Berlusconi."


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