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Renzi starts govt-formation talks with parties

PD leader handed mandate from president on Monday

18 February, 10:37
Renzi starts govt-formation talks with parties

(ANSA) - Rome, February 18 - Democratic Party (PD) leader and premier-designate Matteo Renzi on Tuesday started a round of talks with Italy's political parties in view of the formation of a new government. Renzi, 39, is set to become Italy's youngest-ever premier after torpedoing the coalition administration of his PD colleague Enrico Letta last week over his lack of progress with much-needed institutional reforms and measures to revive the troubled economy.

The leader of the centre-left PD, the biggest group in parliament, will have sessions with almost all of the parties, including those that have already said they will be in the opposition, including ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia (FI).

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) has not yet decided whether to take part in the consultations, having snubbed talks with President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday and Saturday after Letta quit as premier.

The talks are starting with some of the smaller parties in parliament and will culminate on Wednesday with FI and Renzi's own PD.

If the negotiations are successful, Renzi and his ministers will be sworn in and the new government will face confidence votes in both houses of parliament.

Renzi has set out ambitious reform goals to revive the economy and streamline the country's expensive, slow-moving political system.

But he is probably going to have to work with the same fractious alliance Letta had.

He will need the support of several small centrist parties and the New Centre Right (NCD) of Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, with the M5S and FI set to stay in the opposition.

Alfano has warned that Renzi's government will never come to life unless the NCD's demands are met.