Renzi denies trying to 'buy votes'

Premier says Spanish result vindicates Italicum

(ANSA) - Rome, December 21 - Premier Matteo Renzi on Monday dismissed claims that his government's 2016 budget law was made up primarily of gifts to win voters for his centre-left Democratic Party (PD). "There are no gifts," Renzi said in a newsletter on his website.
    "There is a comprehensive design - lower taxes, the defence of the weakest, simplification". The budget bill has moved to the Senate for a third reading after being approved by the Lower House at the weekend and there is now a race to get it approved before the Christmas holidays. It features the scrapping of the property-linked local-services tax TASI on people's first homes and a 2.6-billion-euro package of extra spending on security and culture in the wake of the bloody November 13 Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris. That package, in turn, includes an 80-euro bonus for police and a 500-euro allocation for 18-year-olds to spend on cultural activities. The center-left premier went on to rebut accusations from the opposition anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) - currently the second-largest party in Italy after Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) - of favoritism contained the government's budget bill. "The 5-Stars said this budget bill favors our friends," Renzi wrote. "It's true. The government admits it thought of its friends - because we think the Italian people have a right to their government's friendship....Now taxes will be going down".
    that the inconclusive outcome of Sunday's general elections in Renzi also said Sunday's national election in Spain - which produced no clear winner - has vindicated the Italicum election reform that his government got approved this year. The Italicum assigns bonus seats to the party that wins more than 40% of the vote to ensure they have a working majority in parliament. A run-off takes places between the two top parties for the bonus seats if none reaches the 40% threshold. "Today's Spain seems like yesterday's Italy," Renzi said. "Bless the Italicum, truly - there will be a clear winner, and a ruling majority capable of governing," the premier concluded.