Mattarella asks Renzi to hold off (2)

Until 2017 budget approval

(ANSA) - Rome, December 5 - President Sergio Mattarella has asked Premier Matteo Renzi to hold off on his resignation until the 2017 budget bill is approved by the Senate in order to ward off the risk of parliament being forced to apply a provisional budget, the president's office said in a statement Monday. The statement followed what was the second meeting of the day between Mattarella and Renzi, who previously told his cabinet ministers he intends to resign, thanking them for their cooperation and team spirit during the just over 1,000 days of his administration.
    Earlier, Mattarella warned that parliament must stick to its deadlines and commitments in the aftermath of Renzi's announced resignation. "Institutions must ensure the deadlines and commitments we face are respected, guaranteeing responses that are commensurate with the current issues," said Italy's president. Mattarella urged parties and politicians to ensure "a climate of serenity and mutual respect" and that "the high turnout in yesterday's referendum is a testament to a solid democracy (and) an impassioned country capable of active participation". Renzi said late last night he will hand in his resignation to Mattarella after the resounding victory of the No vote in Sunday's referendum on constitutional reform.
    The outgoing premier told a news conference he took "all the responsibility" after his government's reform was rejected by close to 60% of voters. The Italian people had spoken "in a clear, unequivocal way" he said. "We took this reform to the vote, we weren't convincing, but we leave with no regrets," Renzi told a midnight press conference.
    "As was clear from the start, my experience in government ends here... I'm proud of the opportunity government has given citizens to express themselves on the reform. Many people have come closer to the Constitution (as a result)." One of the possible outcomes of this situation is that Mattarella may give someone a mandate to form a caretaker government to pass the budget bill and a new electoral law.
    Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini and Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso have been mentioned as possible heads of a caretaker government.
    Also on Monday, former center-right premier Silvio Berlusconi said it is up to Renzi's center-left Democratic Party (PD), which has a majority in parliament, to form a new government tasked with approving next year's budget as well as "a new electoral law based on criteria that will guarantee that the parliamentary majority corresponds to the majority expressed by voters". "We trust in (Mattarella's) role as guarantor and that he will oversee this delicate phase with balance and impartiality," Berlusconi said, calling for elections "soon".