(ANSA) - Rome, February 19 - Matteo Renzi was continuing his
ascent to become the youngest premier in Italian history on
Wednesday, meeting with leaders from the biggest parties in
parliament, starting with three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi.
The consultation in parliament offices marked the Forza
Italia chief's first trip back to the building since being
ejected from the Senate last year over a binding Supreme Court
conviction for tax fraud.
Berlusconi has already confirmed his center-right party
will mount a "responsible opposition" to a government run by
Renzi, head of the center-left Democratic Party (PD).
Later in the day, the charismatic 39-year-old will consult
with his own party, the biggest in parliament, less than a week
after convincing it to unseat one of its own, Premier Enrico
Letta, for allegedly not moving swiftly enough to enact
electoral and economic reforms.
Renzi will likely also meet with Beppe Grillo, head of the
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), after members of the
second-largest single party in parliament voted surprisingly by
a narrow margin in an online vote to participate in
government-formation talks late Tuesday.
Grillo, a comic-turned-politician, has called the
consultations a 'farce', and is likely to use the talks as a
platform to express his opposition to a Renzi premiership, the
third in a row without elections, and the fourth in just over
Such was the case Tuesday in Renzi's consultations with the
left-wing SEL party and the right-wing Northern League.
But another small party, the New Center Right of sitting
Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, was
heartened by SEL's refusal to join, and said it would support a
Renzi executive if the center right was "given a voice".
Alfano's support could be key to tipping the scales in
favor of a governing majority for Renzi.
Regional Affairs Minister Graziano Delrio, a key Renzi
loyalist, said Tuesday's consultations "went well" and that a
government "will be ready by the weekend".