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'PD can go down in history with election reform' says Letta

'Unmissable chance,' play as a team for 'effective result'

06 February, 18:23
'PD can go down in history with election reform' says Letta (see previous).

(ANSA) - Rome, February 6 - The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) can go down in history if it achieves a landmark electoral reform, Premier Enrico Letta told bigwigs in his party Thursday.

"It's an unrepeatable opportunity (and) if we take it the PD will be a protagonist in the history of the country," he said. "We have to find agreement for an effective result," said Letta, stressing that he and new PD leader Matteo Renzi would play "as a team".

A reform plan agreed with centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi goes to the House floor February 15.

Framed after the previous law was declared unconstitutional, it sets bars for parties running alone (8%) and those part of a coalition (4.5%) and awards a winner's bonus for a bloc that gets 37% of the vote.

The law is aimed at forcing smaller parties to join coalitions and denying them undue say in government, as well as speeding laws by stripping the Senate of legislative powers and turning it into a regional body.

Renzi says the reform will mean savings of up to two billion euros in a bloated political system which is currently among the dearest in the world and has been hit by a continuing spate of funding scandals.