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matteo renzi


Paolo Gentiloni has been appointed Italy’s new prime minister after Matteo Renzi’s resignation.

Matteo Renzi resigned after losing a referendum on constitutional reform last week.

The 62-year-old former foreign minister is a loyalist from Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party.

Correspondents say that if Gentiloni is successful in rallying support a government could be formed in days.

Image source Wikipedia

Image source Wikipedia

In a brief acceptance speech, Paolo Gentiloni said he realized the urgency of forming the government to reassure the country.

The new prime minister said he would work within the framework of the previous administration, making it likely that he will reappoint several ministers.

Paolo Gentiloni faces a banking crisis and a rise in popular support for anti-establishment and eurosceptic parties.

Opposition parties have ruled out joining a national unity government, with the populist Five Star Movement saying it will boycott a parliamentary approval vote, due to take place on December 14, because it would have not legitimacy.


The party has called for immediate elections, currently due to be held in May 2018.

However, President Sergio Mattarella has said the current electoral rules must be revised so both houses of parliament are synchronized.

The law was changed to the so-called “Italicum” system last year to give the leading party a parliamentary majority through bonus seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies. But there has been no such change in the Senate, which is elected by proportional representation.

Senate reforms formed part of the package of reforms put to Italian voters on December 4, while the legitimacy of the system for the Chamber of Deputies is to be ruled on in January.

Matteo Renzi’s plans for constitutional reform were rejected by a margin of 59% to 41%, prompting his decision to stand down.

Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi has handed in his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, three days after losing a constitutional referendum he had staked his career on.

Matteo Renzi had promised to wait until the Senate passed the 2017 budget, which it did earlier in the day.

President Mattarella will start consultations with political parties over forming a caretaker government at 18:00 on December 8.

In the meantime, Matteo Renzi is to act as a “caretaker prime minister”.

The consultation, which is due to end on December 10, will look at where support lies for a new government, presidential aide Ugo Zampetti told reporters on December 7.

According to Reuters, President Mattarella is expected to ask a member of Matteo Renzi’s cabinet, or a politician from his Democratic Party (PD), to try to form a new government.

However, some are calling for the election, due in 2018, to be called early.

Italians voted on December 5 by a margin of 59% to 41% against Matteo Renzi’s plans for constitutional reform, prompting his decision to stand down.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

However, Matteo Renzi still wants to stay on the frontline of politics as he remains the leader of the biggest party in parliament, the PD, and will play a considerable role in suggesting the name of his replacement.

Before heading to the Quirinale presidential palace, Matteo Renzi told the PD it should only participate in a “government of national responsibility” if it has the support of the other political parties.

Otherwise, he said, “the PD is not afraid” of early elections.

Two of the big winners in December 3 referendum, the anti-EU Northern League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement, are pushing for early elections.

Other parties, such as the centre-right Forza Italia, are trailing in the polls and want elections delayed. Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi, 80, had tests in a Milan hospital on December 7, six months after he had heart surgery.

Names suggested as a possible leader of a new administration include PD Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and Senate leader Pietro Grasso, who is apolitical.

According to a source quoted in Italy, President Sergio Mattarella believes it is “inconceivable” that elections can be held before electoral laws governing both houses of parliament are synchronized.

The law was changed to the so-called “Italicum” system last year to give the leading party a parliamentary majority through bonus seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies. But there has been no such change in the Senate, which is elected by proportional representation.

Senate reforms were part of the package rejected on December 3. Another factor is that the constitutional court will rule on January 24 on whether the lower house reforms are legitimate.

Italy’s political turmoil has also led to days of uncertainty in international markets, amid questions over the fate of Italy’s indebted banks, especially its third largest, Monte dei Paschi, which is seeking €5 billion ($5.3 billion) to recapitalize.

Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi will meet President Sergio Mattarella to hand in his resignation after suffering a defeat in a constitutional referendum.

President Sergio Mattarella must either appoint a new prime minister or call early elections, as demanded by Italy’s opposition anti-establishment parties.

The president might also try to persuade Matteo Renzi to stay in charge until the 2017 budget is passed later this week, reports say.

European leaders have been playing down the risks of fallout from the crisis.

Matteo Renzi’s resignation comes amid fears of long-term instability for Italy’s troubled banking sector in the long-term. Shares in Italian banks lost ground following news of Matteo Renzi’s defeat.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

The No vote in December 4 constitutional referendum was widely seen as a rejection of establishment politics in Italy.

Matteo Renzi held a final cabinet meeting on December 5, before traveling to the presidential palace to submit his formal resignation.

In spite of the pressure from the opposition, early elections are thought to be unlikely.

Instead, the president may appoint a caretaker administration led by Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party, which would carry on until an election due in the spring of 2018.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan is the favorite to succeed Matteo Renzi as prime minister.

With most ballots counted, the No vote leads with 60% against 40% for Yes, with a 70% turnout, a heavier than expected defeat for the government.

Matteo Renzi staked his political future on his attempt to change Italy’s cumbersome political system. He wanted to strengthen central government and weaken the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

His opponents – including some within his own party – had argued that the reforms would give the prime minister too much power. The electorate agreed.

However, more than a resounding victory for the No camp, it was a chance for a medley of populist parties to reject establishment politics.

The opposition, headed by the Five Star Movement, capitalized on Matteo Renzi’s declining popularity, years of economic stagnation, and the problems caused by tens of thousands of migrants arriving in Italy from Africa.

After the vote, Matteo Renzi defended his record, saying exports and job numbers were up and unemployment was down to 11.7%.

Five Star’s leader, Beppe Grillo, has called for an election “within a week”.

President Sergio Mattarella, who praised the high voter turnout, called for a political climate with “serenity and mutual respect”.

There are obligations and deadlines which Italy’s institutions will have to honor “guaranteeing a response that meets the problems of the moment,” he said.

Italy voted in a constitutional referendum which is being closely watched for further signs of anti-establishment sentiment in Europe.

The vote, called by center-left PM Matteo Renzi, is formally on plans to streamline parliament but is expected to be used as a chance to register discontent.

Populist parties support a No vote.

The turnout on December 4 referendum has been very high by Italian standards – about 60% on average.

Nearly two-thirds of the electorate has voted in prosperous northern Italy but the turnout was much lower in the south.

Voting began at 07:00 and ended at 23:00 local time.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

PM Matteo Renzi, who has said he will resign if he loses, is set to address the Italian people at midnight.

In brief, the reforms include reducing the power of the Senate. Its members would be cut from 315 to 100, with most drawn from mayors and regional representatives.

Matteo Renzi, 41, says the reforms would speed up the cumbersome law-making process in Italy, which has had 60 governments since 1948.

Opponents say the proposals would concentrate too much power in the prime minister’s hands.

Some 50 million Italians have the right to vote in the referendum – many voters are fed up with years of economic stagnation.

An opinion poll in November gave the No vote a lead of at least five percentage points. But many Italians are thought to be still undecided.

The No campaign in Italy has been spearheaded by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by Beppe Grillo. It wants a referendum on whether Italy should keep the euro.

Populists, including the Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League, would receive a boost from the prime minister’s defeat.

If Italy votes No, it would follow a similar trend seen with the UK’s vote in June to leave the EU, as well as the rise of the anti-immigrant Front National in France and populist parties elsewhere (along with Donald Trump’s unexpected win in the US presidential election).

The possibility of Matteo Renzi falling from power has reignited concerns about financial stability in the eurozone’s third largest economy.

If Matteo Renzi does lose, it is still not entirely certain that he will be out of power.

President Sergio Mattarella could ask Matteo Renzi to form a new government or appoint a technocratic prime minister to serve until elections due in 2018.

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Italy held a state funeral for 37 victims of the last week’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake.

The ceremony has been held in the town of Amatrice, which bore the brunt of the disaster.

Coffins of the victims, including those of two children, were laid out in a marquee on the edge of the town.

The venue was chosen at the last minute after relatives rejected a plan for the funeral to be held in a hangar in Rieti, about 40 miles away.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarella were among the mourners.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Of the 292 people known to have died in the earthquake, 242 were from Amatrice or nearby Accumoli.

Today’s funeral Mass in Amatrice began with the names of the victims being read out. Many families were overcome with grief during the ceremony.

In an address, Bishop of Rieti Domenico Pompili urging leaders present not to allow “political quarrels” to delay reconstruction.

“If we abandon these villages, we will kill them for a second time,” he said.

Most victims were Italian, but several foreigners were among those killed.

Romania’s PM Dacian Ciolos attended the funeral to honor the 11 Romanians who died in the earthquake, most of them in Amatrice.

Teams of workers are still searching the rubble in the town for up to 10 people still missing, presumed dead.

It was the second state funeral held for earthquake victims. Another was held on August 27 for 50 people killed in the neighboring Le Marche region.

Italy is to build wooden chalet-style huts within three months for the 2,500 people displaced by the earthquake, Italian media reported.

Authorities want to get survivors into safe, warm accommodation before winter arrives in the mountainous central region.

PM Matteo Renzi discussed reconstruction plans on August 28 with Renzo Piano, one of Italy’s most renowned architects.

There has been criticism in the Italian press over building standards in high-risk areas. Some of the buildings that collapsed had recently been renovated.

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Italy has held state mass funeral for some of the 290 people killed in August 24 powerful earthquake.

Thirty-five victims from the town of Arquata were mourned at a sports hall in the regional capital, Ascoli Piceno.

The death toll from the 6.2-magnitude earthquake, which struck a mountainous central region, has again risen as more bodies were found.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi was among those attending the funeral along with President Sergio Mattarella, who earlier visited Amatrice, the town with the most casualties.

One of the children’s coffins contained the body of Giulia Rinaldo, whose younger sister survived the earthquake because she was under Giulia’s body.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

One of the firefighters, Andrea, had left a moving note on Giulia Rinaldo’s coffin, apologizing for arriving too late, and signing it with a heart symbol.

The coffins will be taken for burial to a cemetery near Arquata, a local official told Ansa news agency.

Most of the earthquake’s victims were Italian, but several foreigners were among those killed.

More aftershocks were registered in the early hours of August 27, one with a magnitude of four.

The ground beneath Accumoli, another severely affected village, sank 8in as a result of the earthquake, satellite images obtained by Italy’s scientific authorities show.

The district which sank is shown in red on this image compiled from data from a Japanese satellite and published by Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

Flags are flying at half mast across the country as Italy remembers victims of the quake.

More than 200 people died in Amatrice alone. Along with Arquata and Accumoli, Pescara del Tronto was also hard-hit.

Many bodies have also been brought to a makeshift morgue in an aircraft hangar in the city of Rieti, where relatives have been identifying loved ones.

The first funeral for one of the earthquake’s victims was held on August 26, for the son of a state official who died in Amatrice.

At least 388 people have been treated in hospital for their injuries while more than 2,000 people were made homeless.

The earthquake hit in the early hours of August 24, 65 miles north-east of Rome.

Italy’s government has been criticized for failing to prevent deaths after the 2009 earthquake in nearby L’Aquila left 300 dead.

Historic towns do not have to conform to anti-quake building regulations, which are also often not applied when new buildings are put up.

In addition to emergency funds, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi canceled taxes for residents and announced a new initiative, “Italian Homes”, to tackle criticism over shoddy construction.

Matteo Renzi also said that it was “absurd” to think that Italy could build completely quake-proof buildings.

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A state of emergency has been declared in Italy’s regions worst hit by August 24 earthquake as hopes of finding more survivors fade.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi has pledged €50 million in funds for rebuilding.

At least 268 people are now reported dead and 400 were injured. Rescue teams have continued to search the rubble of toppled buildings for a second night.

However, hundreds of aftershocks have hampered the efforts of the 5,000 rescuers.

Another magnitude-4.7 tremor struck on August 26.

In addition to the funds, Matteo Renzi canceled taxes for residents and announced a new initiative, “Italian Homes”, to tackle criticism over shoddy construction.

Photo ANSA

Photo ANSA

He also said that it was “absurd” to think that Italy could build completely quake-proof buildings.

The move follows criticism in the Italian media over building standards in high-risk areas. Some of the buildings that collapsed had recently been renovated.

Historic towns do not have to conform to anti-quake building regulations, which are also often not applied when new buildings are put up.

The 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit in the early hours of August 24, 65 miles north-east of Rome in mountainous central Italy.

The worst affected towns – Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto – are usually sparsely populated but have been swelled by tourists visiting for summer, making estimates for the precise number missing difficult.

More than 200 people died in Amatrice alone.

Bodies are still being found in the town, including one discovered in the rubble of the Hotel Roma in the city on August 25.

An official with the fire department, Lorenzo Botti, admitted they were facing a race against time.

However, other rescuers said there was still hope, noting that one survivor was pulled from ruins in L’Aquila in 2009 three days after an earthquake that killed more than 300 people.

Search teams have asked locals to disable their Wi-Fi passwords to help rescue workers communicate more effectively.

Police have also arrested a man for attempting to break into and loot an empty home in the town, Ansa reported.

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Italy’s earthquake death toll has risen to at least 120, PM Matteo Renzi has said.

Other 368 people have been injured in the earthquake that hit a mountainous area of central Italy, he added.

The 6.2-magnitude quake struck at 03:36 local time, 65 miles north-east of Rome, not far from Perugia.

Many of the dead were in the historic town of Amatrice, where the mayor said three-quarters of the town was destroyed, and in nearby Accumoli.

Many people are still believed to be buried under rubble.

“This is not a final toll,” Matteo Renzi warned as he gave the latest figures.

The prime minister had earlier paid tribute to the volunteers and civil defense officials who had rushed to the scene in the middle of the night and used their bare hands to dig for survivors.

Photo ANSA

Photo ANSA

He promised “no family, no city, no hamlet will be left behind”.

The earthquake was felt across Italy, from Bologna in the north to Naples in the south. There have been dozens of aftershocks.

Hardest hit were the small towns and villages in the mountainous area where the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche meet.

Italy’s civil protection department said that at least 73 people were now known to have been killed.

The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said it had recorded more than 200 aftershocks by 15:00 on August 24.

Italy is no stranger to earthquakes: in 2009 a tremor killed more than 300 people in L’Aquila and in May 2012 two tremors nine days apart killed more than 20 people in the northern Emilia Romagna region.

Rescue teams from around the country have been sent to the affected region.

The area is mountainous and access is difficult. Tent camps are being set up for those who need shelter, while others will be accommodated in buildings such as gymnasiums.

Many of the people affected are on holiday.

The national blood donation service has appealed for donors to come forward.

Mediterranean seismicity is driven by the great collision between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates; but when it comes down to the specifics of this latest quake, the details are far more complicated.

The Tyrrhenian Basin, or Sea, which lies to the west of Italy, between the mainland and Sardinia/Corsica, is slowly opening up.

Scientists say this is contributing to extension, or “pull-apart”, along the Apennines. This stress is compounded by movement in the east, in the Adriatic.

The result is a major fault system that runs the length of the mountain range with a series of smaller faults that fan off to the sides. The foundations of cities like Perugia and L’Aquila stand on top of it all.

Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi has named constitutional court judge Sergio Mattarella as his candidate, as parliament chooses a new president.

In Italy, the president has a largely ceremonial role, but the vote is seen as an important moment for Matteo Renzi, after the resignation of Giorgio Napolitano earlier this month.

Giorgio Napolitano, 89, stood down this month, citing “signs of fatigue”.

No result is expected before February 1, as a winning candidate needs a two-thirds majority in initial voting.

More than 1,000 people were due to vote in the procedure, which began on January 29, including both the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and 58 regional representatives.

Giorgio Napolitano was applauded as he entered the chamber to cast his vote in the first round, having told journalists that Sergio Mattarella was a person of “absolute loyalty and propriety”.

Photo ANSA

Photo ANSA

Sergio Mattarella once served as defense minister and is a member of Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD). His nomination was given unanimous support at a meeting of party voters, who number around 400.

However, a candidate needs 673 votes to succeed in the first three rounds, and that is seen as unlikely. Italy’s RAI TV suggested Sergio Mattarella could attract some 561 votes.

If voting extends to a fourth round on January 31, a simple majority of 505 would be enough for him to become 12th president of the Italian republic.

Under the constitution, any Italian citizen over 50 can be nominated by lawmakers.

The role has the key power of appointing a prime minister.

Giorgio Napolitano named five prime ministers during his eight-and-a-half years in office.

He retired earlier this month, aged 89, saying poor health meant he was no longer able to do his job as he wished.

Giorgio Napolitano had only agreed to serve a second term in an attempt to end political paralysis after inconclusive elections in 2013.

Matteo Renzi’s party will need further backing from other parties, such as Nichi Vendola’s Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) Party, former members of Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment Five Star Party, and centrist parties such Civic Choice.

However, the centre-right Forza Italia Party of former PM Silvio Berlusconi is opposed to Sergio Mattarella’s candidacy.

Silvio Berlusconi was said to support another former premier, Giuliano Amato, and the ballot is secret, so rebel lawmakers could sabotage a vote, which happened when a large number of PD electors failed to support the party candidate two years ago.

Although Silvio Berlusconi is no longer in the Senate, because of his conviction for tax fraud, he still leads Forza Italia.

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Eggs were thrown at Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s staff car as he arrived at a new Alcatel-Lucent factory in northern Italy on November 6.

It was the second time this week that eggs were thrown towards PM Matteo Renzi as tensions in Italy mount over plans that will make it easier for companies to fire people.

Trade union activists, carrying signs saying “no unfair dismissal” and “tax the rich, jobs for everyone”, gathered outside the French telecommunications company’s new plant in Monza, where Matteo Renzi gave a speech calling for “crucial” investment in technology, both within Italy and the EU, and for the eurozone to break from the shackles of democracy.

Eggs were thrown at Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s staff car as he arrived at a new Alcatel-Lucent factory

Eggs were thrown at Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s staff car as he arrived at a new Alcatel-Lucent factory

Matteo Renzi was reportedly unscathed by the attack and hustled into the building through a side door, Ansa reported.

Matteo Renzi’s pithy rejoinder that “if they throw eggs, I’ll make crepes” did nothing to calm the controversy.

The egg attack comes a few days after scuffles broke out between protesters and police on November 3 in Brescia, where PM Matteo Renzi gave a speech to local industrialists.

Unions are incensed about Matteo Renzi’s so-called Jobs Act, a series of labor reforms which will make it easier for companies to hire, but also fire, people.

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Italian PM Matteo Renzi has called on business people to fund repairs to the ancient city of Pompeii.

Matteo Renzi made the plea after heavy rainfall caused flooding the UNESCO World Heritage site, damaging walls and buildings.

Pompeii, where volcanic ash smothered a Roman city in AD79, has suffered slow degradation for many years.

On Tuesday, Italy’s culture minister said he would unblock 2 million euros ($2.7 million) “to get the machine working”.

Priority will also be given to work to reduce the risk of flooding in unexcavated areas.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi has called on business people to fund repairs to the ancient city of Pompeii

Italian PM Matteo Renzi has called on business people to fund repairs to the ancient city of Pompeii

Matteo Renzi made the request for funding at a news conference on Wednesday.

The Italian government has already called upon the private sector to help restore other ancient monuments, including the Colosseum in Rome and the Trevi fountain.

Italy’s culture budget has suffered from cutbacks in recent years, leading the UN and EU to issue warnings about the state of the country’s historical sites.

The ancient city of Pompeii is one of the world’s greatest archaeological treasures. Every year, some 2.5 million tourists visit the site, near the southern city of Naples.

A 105 million-euro ($145 million) “Great Pompeii” rehabilitation project was launched in 2013, with the EU contributing 41.8 million euros. However, one Italian newspaper said on Tuesday that only 588,000 euros had been spent.

A new Italian government led by Matteo Renzi has been sworn in Rome ceremony.

Centre-left Matteo Renzi, 39, will be the youngest prime minister in Italy’s history, and one of its least experienced.

Matteo Renzi, nicknamed Il Rottamatore (the Scrapper) rose to prominence as the mayor of Florence, but has never been elected to parliament or served in a national government.

He has chosen a comparatively young cabinet team, about half of them women.

Unemployment in Italy currently stands at a nearly 13% – and above 40% among the young.

Matteo Renzi has promised to overhaul the jobs market and the tax and education systems within four months, but our correspondent adds that he leads an awkward coalition that will not make his task easy.

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy's history, and one of its least experienced

Matteo Renzi is the youngest prime minister in Italy’s history, and one of its least experienced

The new prime minister has named the chief economist at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pier Carlo Padoan, as his finance minister.

Angelino Alfano, who heads the New Centre Right party, one of the Democratic Party’s coalition partners, remains as interior minister.

The government will have to win a vote of confidence in parliament, expected on Monday, before it starts work officially.

On Friday, Matteo Renzi formally accepted the mandate to lead a new government and named his cabinet.

Announcing his team, he said: “It’s a government that will start to work from tomorrow morning.”

The swearing-in took place on Saturday in the ornate presidential palace in Rome as the new prime minister and his cabinet – with the exception of Pier Carlo Padoan, who had not returned from Australia in time for the ceremony – took the oath of office from President Giorgio Napolitano.

Matteo Renzi ousted prime minister and party colleague Enrico Letta, who had led Italy for just 10 months, in a vote at a party meeting on February 13.

He argued that a change of government was needed to end “uncertainty”. He had accused Enrico Letta of a lack of action on improving the economic situation, with unemployment at its highest level in 40 years and the economy shrinking by 9% in seven years.

Matteo Renzi also accused Enrico Letta of failing to implement promised reforms of what is seen as an often corrupt and wasteful bureaucracy.

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Matteo Renzi is expected to be offered to become Italian prime minister, as talks begin on forming a new government.

Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano is starting consultations following the resignation of Enrico Letta.

Enrico Letta was ousted in a vote called by Florence mayor Matteo Renzi at a meeting of their centre-left Democratic Party.

Matteo Renzi, 39, would become Italy’s youngest prime minister.

Enrico Letta was under increasing pressure over Italy’s poor economic performance.

After accepting the prime minister’s resignation, Giorgio Napolitano’s office said talks would begin with political leaders on finding a replacement.

Matteo Renzi is expected to be offered to become Italian prime minister, as talks begin on forming a new government

Matteo Renzi is expected to be offered to become Italian prime minister, as talks begin on forming a new government

The consultations would be conducted swiftly to find an “efficient solution” and they would conclude on Saturday, the statement added.

Enrico Letta’s position became untenable once the Democratic Party backed a call for a new administration.

Matteo Renzi had argued that a change of government was needed to end “uncertainty”.

A new government should take over until the end of the current parliamentary term in 2018, he said.

Matteo Renzi had accused Enrico Letta of a lack of action on improving the economic situation, with unemployment at its highest level in 40 years and the economy shrinking by 9% in seven years.

Enrico Letta, 47, was also accused of failing to implement promised reforms of what is seen as an often corrupt and wasteful bureaucracy.

Youth unemployment has risen and Italians have grown increasingly impatient of the slow pace of reform and the continuing decline of families’ income and living standards.

Enrico Letta only lasted 10 months in the post after forming a coalition government with the centre-right last year. The prime minister, who drove himself from the presidential palace after resigning, took to Twitter to thank “all those who have helped me”.

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Italy’s PM Enrico Letta has said he will resign on Friday after his Democratic Party backed a call for a new administration.

Party leader Matteo Renzi had earlier called for a change of government at a party meeting, saying the country could not go on in “uncertainty”.

Speculation has been rife that Matteo Renzi wants to take over as prime minister.

Matteo Renzi is eight years younger than Enrico Letta and was elected leader of the party in December.

Enrico Letta said in a statement that his decision followed “the decision taken today by the national leadership of the Democratic Party”.

He said he would formally submit his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano at the presidential palace on Friday.

Enrico Letta has said he will resign on Friday after his Democratic Party backed a call for a new administration

Enrico Letta has said he will resign on Friday after his Democratic Party backed a call for a new administration

Matteo Renzi has previously accused Enrico Letta of a lack of action on improving the economy, with unemployment at its highest level in 40 years and the economy shrinking by 9% in seven years.

Correspondents say that although the prime minister has kept a careful lid on public expenditure, he has not been able to carry out much-needed administrative reforms and stimulate economic growth.

The latest political turmoil has so far had little impact on financial markets, in contrast with the volatility seen before the current coalition was formed.

Enrico Letta did not attend Thursday’s party meeting, which had been brought forward from next week.

At the meeting, Matteo Renzi thanked Enrico Letta for his “remarkable work” but said the country could not go on in “uncertainty”.

He said his proposal – a new government to take over until the end of the current parliamentary term in 2018 – was a way out of the “morass”.

Enrico Letta, 47, formed a coalition with the centre-right last year but there had been mounting speculation over his future after Matteo Renzi was elected party leader in December.

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Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has decided to return to the centre of the political stage, striking a reform deal with a centre-left rival.

Silvio Berlusconi, 77, was thrown out of parliament in 2013 after a tax fraud conviction.

The former prime minister still heads the opposition Forza Italia party and held lengthy talks with Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi late on Saturday.

Under their agreement, Silvio Berlusconi will back electoral and constitutional proposals aimed at making Italy more governable.

The current electoral system has left Italy with a series of shaky coalitions.

Last year’s general election left no party strong enough to govern alone, until a broad coalition emerged, headed by Enrico Letta of the PD.

Silvio Berlusconi has agreed with centre-left rival Matteo Renzi over a reform deal

Silvio Berlusconi has agreed with centre-left rival Matteo Renzi over a reform deal

Silvio Berlusconi was initially part of the government but later pulled out. Several key former allies abandoned him to form the New Centre Right party while he became a more marginalized figure.

But he remained head of Italy’s biggest opposition faction, Forza Italia.

Matteo Renzi’s talks with the former centre-right prime minister have divided the coalition, and the PD in particular.

His car was hit with an egg and he was booed as he arrived at PD headquarters.

After the talks Silvio Berlusconi said the deal would “consolidate the biggest parties and simplify the political system”.

Matteo Renzi said the two leaders had backed a law that “favors governability and a bi-polar system, and eliminates the blackmail power of the smallest parties”.

Silvio Berlusconi is keen to make a political comeback despite his fraud conviction and a separate conviction for paying an underage prostitute. He is appealing against a seven-year jail term.

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Italians have been voting in the final round of the contest for the leadership of the centre-left Democratic Party.

The run-off vote pitches veteran party leader Pier Luigi Bersani against Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi.

With the party leading opinion polls, the winner has a good chance of becoming Italy’s next PM in elections scheduled for early 2013, analysts say.

Those elections will choose a successor to PM Mario Monti’s government.

Mario Monti’s successor will face the challenge of addressing Italy’s deep-rooted economic problems.

Pier Luigi Bersani won the party’s primary on 25 November, winning 45% of the vote to Matteo Renzi’s 35.5%.

The two men are very different characters, with tieless, youthful Matteo Renzi, 37, painting himself as the voice of a new generation which wants to sweep away the entire class of older politicians.

By contrast, 61-year-old Pier Luigi Bersani is very much a figure from that older generation.

The final round of the contest for the leadership of the centre-left Democratic Party pitches veteran party leader Pier Luigi Bersani against Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi

The final round of the contest for the leadership of the centre-left Democratic Party pitches veteran party leader Pier Luigi Bersani against Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi

A minister in previous governments, he accepts that the leftist establishment that he represents has disappointed its followers in the past, but emphasizes the importance of experience.

Speculation has been mounting as to whether Silvio Berlusconi would run for a fourth term in office, with the ex-premier suggesting last week that he was thinking about returning to politics.

The billionaire tycoon’s record has been tarnished by sex and political scandals, and he resigned as prime minister in November 2012, after MPs approved an austerity deal to help curb the debt crisis threatening the eurozone.

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