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Renzi makes move to unseat Premier Letta

'New government risky, but makes sense' says PD chief

13 February, 16:42
Renzi makes move to unseat Premier Letta (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, February 13 - The head of the ruling Democratic Party (PD) on Thursday made a move to unseat Premier Enrico Letta at a crunch meeting before party bigwigs, telling them Italy needed a new government. "A new government is a risky option, but it makes sense if you have the courage to say to Europe that the aim is to get to 2018 with electoral and Constitutional reforms and change the rules," the mayor of Florence told the meeting, where he is widely expected to replace Letta if the party approves. For weeks the energetic 39-year-old has been piling pressure on Letta, his PD colleague, for not enacting reforms more quickly. Renzi, who won the party leadership in a landslide vote in December, thanked Letta for his service to the country since becoming premier after inconclusive elections early last year that led to two months of government gridlock. Due to the unprecedented left-right makeup of his coalition, Letta's leadership was imperiled early on by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, who threatened to tank the executive up until being ousted from parliament in late 2013. Harrying soon followed from Renzi, who argued Berlusconi's absence meant Letta was out of excuses with regard to reforms to jumpstart the economy and revamp election laws. Meanwhile PD leadership was poised to vote later at the crisis meeting on whether to continue supporting Letta. In his speech, Renzi ruled out Letta "passing the baton" to him and said a new government was needed with a radical change of direction. "Passing the baton happens when you're going in the same direction with the same intensity, not when you're trying to change the pace," said Renzi. Letta, who skipped the PD meeting, opted to cancel an official visit to Britain later this month as Renzi moved closer to taking his job, the Financial Times said.