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Berlusconi okays applying election law only to House

Ex-premier 'dismayed' at Renzi's problems over bill

04 March, 16:18
Berlusconi okays applying election law only to House (ANSA) - Rome, March 4 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of the opposition centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party, said Tuesday that he has accepted that a deal for a new election law reached with Premier Matteo Renzi should only apply to the Lower House. Berlusconi said he acknowledged with "dismay" that Democratic Party (PD) leader Renzi was having difficulty getting the governing coalition to back the agreement.

Junior government partner the New Centre Right of Interior Minister Angelino Alfano is calling for the new election system to only come into place once other institutional reforms have been introduced.

These include moves to strip the Senate of its law-making powers and turn it into a leaner assembly of local-government representatives - another issue Renzi and Berlusconi have a deal on.

"We confirm the agreement... and reiterate our full cooperation on this issue," said Berlusconi, "and our clear opposition to the government on economic and social issues".