Minister says reforms won't stop for 'rebel Senators'

Group of 13 PD members suspended themselves

(see related story) (ANSA) - Rome, June 12 - Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi said Friday that the government's institutional reforms won't be stopped by a group of rebels within Premier Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party (PD). "The process of reform is going ahead, you can't stop it for a handful of Senators," said Boschi, a close ally of Renzi's. A group of 13 PD Senators suspended themselves from the parliamentary caucus on Thursday after one of them, Corradino Mineo, was taken off the Upper House's constitutional affairs committee because he was not toeing the government's line. The rebels says the decision to replace Mineo with the PD's Senate whip Luigi Zanda on the commission is unconstitutional.
    The government's plan to overhaul Italy's slow, costly political apparatus includes a revamp of the Senate to turn it into a leaner assembly of local-government representatives with minimal law-making powers to save money and make passing legislation easier. Mineo, however, is part of a minority within the PD who want the Senate to continue to be an elected assembly.
    "No one asked them to suspend themselves," added Boschi.
    "They'll have to decide whether to be part of the reform process or make a different choice". Another senior PD member, Luca Lotti, said the rebels should not try to torpedo the reforms that got an endorsement of sorts when the PD won over 40% in last month's European elections.
    "Thirteen Senators cannot be allowed to put into question the will of 12 million voters and they cannot halt the reforms that the Italian people have asked for," Lotti said.
    "Mineo betrayed the agreement with the group. We are the Democratic Party, not the Anarchy Party".


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