News ID: 265620
Published: 0132 GMT February 14, 2020

Italy's Renzi boycotts cabinet meet, challenges PM to find a new gov’t

Italy's Renzi boycotts cabinet meet, challenges PM to find a new gov’t

Former prime minister Matteo Renzi said Italy’s government could collapse after his small party boycotted a cabinet meeting over a contested justice reform and the prime minister suggested he was ready to resign.

Renzi’s centrist Italia Viva party is in the coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party (PD), but he has constantly taken center stage in coalition bickering since it was formed last September, Reuters reported.

While opinion polls give his party only about 4% of votes, its support is crucial in parliament and particularly in the upper-house Senate, where the government majority is very thin.

On Thursday, the cabinet approved a reform of the statute of limitations, which disbands trials if a verdict is not reached within a set limit.

Renzi, who opposes the reform, challenged Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to put together a new coalition after Conte appealed for unity among the feuding ruling parties.

If Conte “wants to set up a new ruling coalition we won’t oppose it”, Renzi said on Thursday in a video message posted on Facebook.

“We’ll cheer you on, but we’ll never be the ones who give up an idea to keep a seat”, he added.

Renzi’s party had threatened to present a no-confidence motion against Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede, a prominent member of the 5-Star movement.

“If this happens, I would act consequentially,” Conte said, suggesting he could resign if Renzi presented such a motion.

“We don’t want to replace Italia Viva in the coalition with another party but they must be clear on what they want to do.”

Time limits for prosecutions have been at the center of fierce political debate for years, with magistrates saying it is all but impossible to reach a definitive verdict for a multitude of financial crimes within the prescribed time frame.




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