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Renzi warns 'no ultimatums' on reforms

Govt to approve stripping Senate of lawmaking powers on Monday

28 March, 20:10
Renzi warns 'no ultimatums' on reforms (ANSA) - Rome, March 28 - Taking a firm line with his centre-left Democratic Party (PD) caucus on Friday, Premier Matteo Renzi said that the government will approve a bill to change the Constitution to reform the Senate, stripping its lawmaking powers and turning it into a leaner assembly of local-government representatives, at a cabinet meeting on Monday. The bill will also include changes to Article V of the Constitution to scrap Italy's provincial administrations and take back some powers from the country's regional governments, many of which are guilty of overspending. The aim of the reforms, which may take over a year to clear parliament, is to make it easier to pass legislation, and therefore govern Italy, and to reduce the huge cost of the country's political apparatus.

The weaknesses and pitfalls of Italy's complex political system were brought into sharp focus in February last year, when a virtual three-way tie in national elections brought parliament to a grinding halt that lasted for two months. Moving to labor reforms, Renzi told his party that his government is pressing ahead with a decree, including two "untouchable" points, regardless of opposition. "(New rules on) fixed-term contracts and apprenticeships are two untouchable points," Renzi warned his caucus, including members who are expressing discontent with the decree. It sets out measures to establish a fixed-term three-year contract that could be used across the country, as well as new measures on apprenticeships. It began its passage through the Lower House on Thursday with hearings scheduled for next week before returning for a vote in mid-April.

But some members of the PD and unions have expressed opposition, saying that the decree will increase job insecurity for Italians, and some are already presenting amendments. "I have read the messages and ultimatums on labour, of which I understand little," Renzi said.

"It is not something in pieces, it is a package".

In contrast to PD criticisms, the opposition centre-right Forza Italia says it will support the decree, highlighting the turmoil in Renzi's PD over the measures. FI House Whip Renato Brunetta said that his party, founded by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, will approve the decree without any changes, because it is line with FI thinking. "This is, in fact, a Berlusconi decree on labour," Brunetta said in a Twitter post.

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