Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Letta talks to parties to form government

English
© ANSA

Rome, April 25 - Centre-left Democratic Party (PD)
deputy head Enrico Letta talked to parties Thursday to break
Italy's political logjam and form a government two months after
inconclusive elections.
Newly re-elected President Giorgio Napolitano tapped Letta
Wednesday after lashing parties for not agreeing on a
broad-backed reform government and saying he would quit if they
didn't.
Letta, 46, would be Italy's third-youngest premier if he
pulls off the tricky job of getting old enemies PD and
scandal-plagued conservative ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's
People of Freedom (PdL) party to bury their differences.
Italian media said Thursday Letta's chance of success was
"too close to call".
The aim is to form a slimmed-down 18-minister government
before the financial markets open Monday.
Hurdles include the PdL's electoral pledge to pay back a
property tax, which the PD thinks is not possible given EU
budget constraints, and deep divisions over the justice system.
Many in the left wing of the PD, which is riven by factional
squabbling after outgoing leader Pier Luigi Bersani failed to
get two candidates elected, are dead against an alliance with
arch enemy Berlusconi, involved in trials for paying an underage
prostitute for sex and tax fraud at his Mediaset media empire.
Bersani resigned amid a PD meltdown and parties begged
Napolitano, 87, to serve an unprecedented second term.
In his re-inaugural speech he lashed "deaf" and "sterile"
parties who have been discredited by corruption scandals for
failing to pass reforms including a new electoral law that could
produce a clear winner, and measures to create jobs and lift the
economy out of its worst recession in 20 years.
On February 25 the PD's alliance got a majority in the House
but not the equally powerful Senate, leading to a hung
parliament where the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S)
led by comedian Beppe Grillo holds the balance of power.
Berlusconi's alliance came in a very close second and the
three-time premier has since been calling for a grand coalition
with the PD.
Bersani rejected this and tried to reach out to M5S, which
is refusing to work with either party.
On Thursday Napolitano appealed to the parties to show
"courage and determination" to seal a deal on a left-right
coalition which would also be backed by outgoing Premier Mario
Monti's Civic Choice.
PdL leader Angelino Alfano said Wednesday the PD must fully
back a Letta government or be responsible for a weak
administration tasked with taking Italy back to the polls in
June, possibly with a new electoral law.
Berlusconi said Thursday the new government must stoke
growth in the eurozone's third-biggest economy.
Letta has also said he will push for the EU to ease
austerity policies - a call that was backed Thursday by the IMF.

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