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Renzi blasts govt for inaction on reforms

Reshuffling cabinet 'is to miss the point'

16 January, 17:40
Renzi blasts govt for inaction on reforms (ANSA) - Rome, January 16 - Matteo Renzi, the head of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), on Thursday used his first party meeting since winning a party primary in November to blast the Italian government for lagging on key electoral and institutional reforms. "Recent reform efforts have been a list of failures: no electoral reforms, the idea of a major institutional reform was (blocked in parliament). For several years cabinet members have abandoned the idea of reforms. The PD risks losing credibility," said the 39-year-old mayor of Florence. Even before his overwhelming victory at party primaries in November, the charismatic politician has harbored open ambitions of one day becoming premier himself. Recently, some have accused him of wanting that day to come sooner than later, and of having his sights set on the government that will follow the current left-right coalition headed by his fellow PD member, Premier Enrico Letta.

Likened to a young Tony Blair, the charismatic Renzi has fomented friction in Letta's cabinet of late with accusations of inaction and calls for the PD to dictate terms to members from other parties of the center right. Furthermore, many of his supporters have said the Letta government should replace some of its cabinet with Renzi loyalists given his impressive primary victory. But Renzi himself reiterated his opposition to that idea at the PD meeting.

"Those proposing a reshuffle (of the cabinet) are missing the point," he said. It's not a question of swapping two ministers with two Renzi supporters but of "creating a system of government that lasts for the next 20 years". Renzi was also careful not to distance himself too much from the PD-led government many claim he hopes will fall so he can mount his own official election campaign. "I'm the only one in the PD who's never put a time limit on the government," he said. "I've always said it should go forward so long as it's getting results".