New Italian Opposition Group Pledges Support For Renzi Reform | Independent Newspapers Limited
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New Italian Opposition Group Pledges Support For Renzi Reform

Posted: Jul 30, 2015 at 5:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

A new Italian opposition splinter group said at its debut on Wednesday that it would back Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plan to make Italy more politically stable by changing the constitution to streamline the lawmaking process.

Denis Verdini said he was leaving former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party to form a group of 10 senators that could give Renzi support on the legislation that is due to be voted in parliament in the autumn.

The law, a major plank of Renzi’s reform platform, would strip regional governments of some powers they now hold and make the Senate an unelected body whose support would no longer be needed to seat a government.

In combination with a new electoral law passed in May, Renzi said the constitutional reform will make Italy, which has had 64 governments since 1945, more stable and more efficient.

Renzi’s centre-left coalition has only a 9-vote majority in the Senate and about 20 senators from his Democratic Party (PD) have said they would not vote the reform if it is not revised, meaning Verdini’s new group could be pivotal.

Renzi has a broad majority in the lower house.

While the new group may help the premier pass the reform, it could also deepen a split within the PD where left-wing members of the party are asking for a greater role in policy making.

Verdini, who was one of Berlusconi’s top lieutenants, told reporters his new group, the Liberal Popular Autonomous Alliance (ALA), would not automatically support Renzi on other issues.

Forza Italia had backed the reforms until a dispute over the election of President Sergio Mattarella in January prompted Berlusconi to withdraw his support for Renzi’s institutional reforms.