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Renzi, Berlusconi discuss election law by telephone

Sources say leaders adamant proposals cannot be amended

28 January, 18:55
Renzi, Berlusconi discuss election law by telephone (ANSA) - Rome, January 28 - Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi spoke more than once by telephone Tuesday with centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi on the controversial proposed new election law, sources said.

The pair reached a deal on January 18 that Renzi insisted may be improved but cannot be overhauled.

"Everything can be improved, but we have an agreement after years of not moving," Renzi said earlier via his Facebook page.

"This can get Italy out of the quicksand". Renzi, who is mayor of Florence, and representatives from Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) were in talks over possible changes to a bill that was presented on the basis of the deal between the PD chief and the three-time premier.

The proposal has come under fire from the smaller parties in parliament and parts of the PD over several issues.

These include the thresholds it sets for parties to access parliament, the system of bonus seats that would be awarded to the coalition that comes first and gets over 35% of the vote, and the fact that voters would not be able to express preferences about which candidates on a party list are elected. The debate on the law in parliament, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed until January 30.