Tuesday 21 October 2014

Italian Premier faces new challenge to his leadership

Published 13/02/2014 | 13:36

Italian Premier Enrico Letta is trying to hold on to power
Italian Premier Enrico Letta is trying to hold on to power

Italian Premier Enrico Letta faced a new challenge to his leadership as the head of his own party tried to orchestrate a power grab.

Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi called a party leadership meeting to decide whether to withdraw support from Mr Letta's fragile coalition government, accusing the premier of failing to make progress on key financial reforms.

Mr Renzi, 39, has been critical of Mr Letta since December, when Mr Renzi was voted head of their Democratic Party.

If successful, Mr Renzi could be asked to form a new government, but it would need to win a vote of confidence in both houses of Parliament.

"I believe that Italy is going toward a new Renzi government," said Giovanni Orsina, deputy director of the school of government at Rome's LUISS University. "Whether this is going to be stronger than Letta's government and more stable, of course, is to be seen."

Mr Letta, 47, made a pitch to hold on to power yesterday, highlighting the economic relief since he took power 10 months ago. He said the economy is showing signs of growth after years of contraction and the country's high public debt has begun to decline for the first time in six years.

While analysts say a Renzi government could accelerate reforms, it also risks alienating Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right party, an influential component of the opposition.

Press Association

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