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Renzi says Italy doesn't need elections

'A step away from historic reforms'

07 February, 11:06
Renzi says Italy doesn't need elections (ANSA) - Florence, February 7 - Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi squashed speculation he was pushing for an election he might win and said Italy was on the verge of "historic reforms" to streamline government thanks to an electoral-law deal he forged with centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi.

In a tweet, Renzi acknowledged that he was ahead in opinion polls but he placed Italy's welfare before his personal ambition.

"A general election would be in my interests but not in Italy's," the Florence mayor said.

"We are on step away form a historic reform," said Renzi, who has been harrying the PD-led government to achieve reforms starting with an electoral law replacing one widely blamed for Italy's political instability and thrown out by the Constitutional Court.

Renzi, who some blame for an alleged rehabilitation of tax-fraud-convicted ex-Senator Berlusconi, stressed the scope of the deal he made with his main rival: a new electoral law forcing small parties into coalitions and stripping them of blackmail powers; turning the Senate into a regional body so a majority is only needed in the House; and scrapping provincial governments and returning many powers from the regions to Rome.

The dynamic Florence mayor, elected in a landslide in December, says the reforms will save some two billion euros and produce a clear winner because of the 15% bonus it gives to a bloc that gets 37% of the vote. Recent polls suggest Berlusconi's centre-right alliance is slightly ahead of the PD-led alliance and the media magnate would win for the fourth time - although a dauphin would have to take up the premiership since Berlusconi is banned from office because of last year's tax-fraud conviction, his first binding one in 20 years of battles against what he sees as politically biased magistrates.