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Renzi faces possible party revolt over Berlusconi deal

Left of PD furious at possible agreement over election law

17 January, 18:12
Renzi faces possible party revolt over Berlusconi deal (see related stories) (ANSA) - Rome, January 17 - Matteo Renzi, the new leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), could face an internal revolt if he strikes a deal with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi over a new election law.

Renzi said this week was considering meeting with the three-time premier to try to wrap up a deal on a new election system to replace the old one that was recently declared invalid by the Constitutional Court. The meeting may take place this weekend. Critics in Renzi's own PD have said talks with Forza Italia leader Berlusconi, who was handed a binding conviction last year and expelled from parliament, would help rehabilitate his marred image. One senior lawmaker who is close to Renzi's predecessor as PD chief, Pier Luigi Bersani, said many in the party would react to a deal by bring down the government led by another party member, Premier Enrico Letta.

"If a Berlusconi-Renzi pact that excludes all the other (political parties) is sealed tomorrow, the government majority ends tomorrow," said PD MP Alfredo D'Attorre.

He added that parts of the PD would refuse to vote for a new election law modelled on the Spanish system, one of three proposals forwarded by Renzi and thought to be acceptable to Berlusconi.

"The Spanish system in an Italian sauce is Constitutionally and political impossible to vote for," D'Attorre said. Renzi had defended his position, saying it is only logical to try to get the agreement of the main opposition party for a new election law.

His drive to seek a deal with Berlusconi's party at the expense of other groups has caused problems for Letta's government as it has upset the the main junior partner on the coalition, the New Centre Right of Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Angelino Alfano.