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Berlusconi hails Renzi proposals, insists on 'election day'

Ex-premier wants elections to coincide with EP vote in May

02 January, 15:50
Berlusconi hails Renzi proposals, insists on 'election day' (ANSA) - Rome, January 2 - Ex-premier and leader of the revived centre-right party Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi, on Thursday welcomed proposals by Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi for electoral reform and insisted that a vote should be held in conjunction with European Parliament elections in May.

Berlusconi said he "positively welcomed" the strategy outlined by Renzi in relation to both the possibility of bilateral meetings and consultations and the several electoral models put forward, adding that these "certainly included a reasonable solution able to ensure full governability, an unambiguous two-bloc system and clear choices for the electorate". Earlier in the day Renzi made three 'suggestions' for a new electoral law to replace the one struck down by the Constitutional Court in December, including a law based on the Spanish system, a return to a mixed system like the one in force from 1993 to 2005 and a double-ballot system. Berlusconi also renewed calls for fresh general elections to be held at the same time as European Parliament elections and local administrative elections in May "to guarantee high voter turnout and savings for the public purse". The now-defunct electoral law - commonly referred to as the 'pigsty law' after being described as such by its main proponent, Roberto Calderoli of the right-wing Northern League, in 2005 - is one of the reasons behind last year's inconclusive general elections and the ensuing period of political deadlock and eventual formation of a right-left government led by Enrico Letta.

The executive has defied speculation and survived into 2014 amid repeated calls for electoral reform and a new round of elections in the near future.