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Italy`s Renzi says expects government in place by Monday

AFP | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 20:54

Rome: Italian Prime Minister-designate Matteo Renzi said he expected his new government to be in place in time for a formal vote of confidence in parliament on Monday, after he wrapped up consultations with the main political parties.

"I`m convinced that the conditions are in place to do good work," Renzi told reporters on Wednesday after completing talks with parliamentary groups.

He said he expected to give President Giorgio Napolitano his formal acceptance of the mandate to form a government on Saturday, when he is likely to present his cabinet.

Renzi, who is due to meet Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco later on Wednesday, said he planned to spend Thursday working on a policy document and would continue to work on naming his future ministers.

However he declined to answer questions about the possible identity of his cabinet following media speculation that he was having trouble filling key posts including the vital economy ministry portfolio.

Renzi, whose centre-left Democratic Party is expected to go into coalition with the small centre-right NCD party which supported his predecessor Enrico Letta, met both former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, on Wednesday.

Both will go into opposition but the reaction from the two leaders was starkly different with Berlusconi emerging from the meeting in conciliatory mood.

"We will be in opposition but we will support individual measures if we consider they are good for the country," Berlusconi, with whom Renzi has already reached an accord on electoral law reform, told reporters.

By contrast Grillo delivered a blistering attack on the would-be prime minister during a 10-minute meeting that was broadcast live, in keeping with the 5-Star Movement`s insistence on transparent negotiations.

"You`re not a credible person. Whatever you say isn`t credible," Grillo told the 39-year-old Renzi, who struggled to get a word in. "You say a thing one day and then go back on it the next day. You`re a young boy but at the same time you`re old," he said.

Renzi was given a mandate to form a government at the weekend after his party forced Letta to resign last week following heavy criticism over the slow pace of reforms to Italy`s stagnant economy, still struggling to emerge from its worst postwar slump.

He has promised a radical policy programme with reforms to the electoral and constitutional system, to the labour market, and to the public administration and tax systems within the first four months of taking office.

First Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 20:54

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