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Renzi tells skeptics his government will respond with reform

'We will start seeing results' on Wednesday

07 March, 12:24
Renzi tells skeptics his government will respond with reform (ANSA) - Rome, March 14 - Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Friday tweeted that "Italy can be changed, but the mindset of those living with their prejudices can't", responding to growing criticism over his government, which was sworn in last month. Turin daily La Stampa on Friday published an interview in which Renzi slammed as "ridiculous" criticism of his cabinet, concerning in particular a planned electoral-law reform, four undersecretaries who are currently under investigation and measures to boost Italy's ailing economy and record unemployment rate.

"We haven't really started yet", he said.

He said confidence in his government was growing.

"Things are moving forward as scheduled", Renzi said, adding that the he had promised "an electoral law in a short time and there will be one". The new government's credibility is on the line over a reform that would see the Senate transformed into a leaner assembly of local-government representatives stripped of law-making powers.

Renzi is hopeful the new election law will be passed in the Lower House quickly and then win definitive approval in the Senate shortly after.

Reforming the Senate, however, is expected to take over a year as it requires amending the Constitution, which is a far more lengthy process.

In the interview, Renzi also said "we will start seeing results" when more details will be revealed on a planned labour reform after a council of ministers scheduled next Wednesday.

Renzi said last week that reducing Italy's unemployment rate must be his government's first priority after the latest figures showed that unemployment in January hit a record 12.9%.

Youth unemployment also rose to 42.4% in January, the highest since 1977,according to a preliminary estimate released last week by Istat.