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PD mediation seeks to avoid Letta-Renzi showdown

Premier to be offered economy ministry, says sources

13 February, 12:22
PD mediation seeks to avoid Letta-Renzi showdown (ANSA) - Rome, February 13 - The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) is involved in last-minute negotiations to prevent a party meeting on Thursday turning into an angry showdown between Premier Enrico Letta and PD leader Matteo Renzi. Letta, a PD member, is resisting pressure from Renzi to resign so the latter can take over as premier.

Renzi has been highly critical of the failure of Letta's left-right coalition government to do more to revive the Italian economy, which is struggling to emerge from its longest postwar recession, and introduce institutional reforms to make Italy easier to govern. Renzi, who has been pressuring Letta since winning a party leadership primary with a landslide in December, may ask the PD to withdraw its support from Letta at a party meeting called later on Thursday to discuss the PD's position with respect to the government.

"Anyone who wants to take my place must spell out their intentions," Letta said Wednesday as he presented a policy pact for the parties supporting his executive that includes pledges to cut labour and income taxes and reform the labour market.

ANSA sources said Letta is being offered the chance to take up the role of economy minister in a Renzi government in order to carry out the policies that the premier outlined Wednesday.