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Cuperlo quits as PD president, says he felt muzzled

Debate over election reform with Renzi triggers resignation

21 January, 15:41
Cuperlo quits as PD president, says he felt muzzled (ANSA) - Rome, January 21 - The new president of the Democratic Party (PD) Gianni Cuperlo abruptly resigned on Tuesday, saying he felt "alarmed" at the direction of the party.

In a letter published on his Facebook page, Cuperlo - who was defeated in December by Matteo Renzi for top position as party secretary - suggested he felt muzzled.

"I resign because I am shocked and alarmed by a ...

(political) party that cannot bend its uniformity of language and thought," Cuperlo wrote in his letter, addressed to Renzi.

The resignation came one day after the PD accepted a set of election-law proposals from Renzi reached in a controversial deal with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi last Saturday.

Renzi, the ambitious 39-year-old mayor of Florence, said that his proposals were "concrete," not open to amendment, and could be approved by the end of May. "It's a complicated castle that only stands up if all the pieces are together," Renzi said Monday.

"If someone intervened in parliament to change something, it would wreck everything". Cuperlo had expressed his concern at Monday's meeting that the proposals could not be amended, adding they were not convincing and some feared they were not Constitutional. In his letter Tuesday, he elaborated on his frustration.

"I resign because I want what is good for the Democratic Party and want to commit to strengthen its internal ideas and the values of the left," which Cuperlo suggested are being "redesigned" to the detriment of the left.

"I resign because I will always have the freedom to say what I think. I want to be able to applaud, criticize, disagree, without it appearing to anyone as an abuse". Renzi's deal has also come under fire from some parts of the PD, who complained that it serves as a political rehabilitation for Forza Italia chief Berlusconi, who was ejected from parliament after a definitive tax-fraud conviction last year. Italy needs a new election system to replace the old one that was recently declared invalid by the Constitutional Court.

The political parties failed for years to find an agreement on a new system, even though the old one, which was nicknamed the 'pigsty' and was blamed for contributing to the inconclusive outcome to last year's general election, was widely recognized to be dysfunctional.