(ANSA) - Rome, January 16 - The new leader of the
center-left Democratic Party (PD) on Thursday said criticism
surrounding him possibly engaging in cross-party talks with
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi was "ludicrous".
"The controversy surrounding talks with (Berlusconi's
center-right) Forza Italia is ludicrous," said Renzi at his
first party meeting since a landslide victory at a primary in
On Wednesday the 39-year-old mayor of Florence said he was
considering meeting with the three-time premier to discuss
election reforms, as he has done with other party leaders.
Critics in Renzi's own PD have said talks with Berlusconi,
who was handed a binding conviction last year and expelled from
parliament, would help rehabilitate his marred image.
"This controversy of meeting with a felon is outrageous.
(Berlusconi) was a founder of the current government, and I
didn't see any ministers step down when he was convicted".
After coming in second at elections last February,
Berlusconi's now-defunct People of Freedom (PdL) party was a
part of the coalition until pulling its support and disbanding