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Renzi softens on amending election reform

'Changes are possible if all agree' says PD leader

23 January, 19:54
Renzi softens on amending election reform (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, January 23 - The head of the center-left Democratic Party (PD) on Thursday softened his stance on amending a new election-reform bill he designed. "Changes are possible in parliament if everyone agrees.

Amendments will be discussed within the party. Some I agree with, but no one can make his own election law. Amendments must be agreed on by (the center right) as well," said Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi. On Friday a PD minority group issued four points it demanded parliament consider as the bill is formalized before it is sent to the floor of the House January 29. The proposals were revoking lists of candidates selected by the party apparatus, increasing the majority premium in parliament, lowering the votes threshold for parties to enter parliament, and alternating male and female candidates on the list.

Renzi sparked tension within his party on Saturday by meeting with three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi, head of the center-right Forza Italia party, to strike a deal on reforming the election law, which was ruled invalid late last year by the Constitutional Court and is blamed for producing inconclusive elections last February. Last year Berlusconi was ejected from parliament after receiving his first-ever binding conviction, for tax fraud, in 20 years of legal entanglements. Renzi's meeting with Berlusconi was seen by many as an act of rehabilitating his marred image. Afterward, the ambitious young mayor told those in the PD opposed to the deal that it was "concrete" and not open to amendment. "It's a complicated castle that only stands up if all the pieces are together. If someone intervened in parliament to change something, it would wreck everything," he said at the time.