Italy’s Renzi Wins Senate’s Backing for Labor Reforms

Italian parliament Rome
The facade of the Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian parliament, in Rome (Shutterstock)

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has won the support of the Senate for labor reforms, clearing the first parliamentary hurdle in a months-long process to liberalize the country’s morose jobs market.

After a marathon Senate session in Rome, all of Renzi’s Democrats voted for reform, although close to three dozen had said they were principally opposed to the changes.

“We were not elected to erode [workers’] rights,” argued one lawmaker, Walter Tocci.

Renzi’s labor minister, Giuliano Poletti, said the reforms would “reduce precariousness for workers and give certainty to business” by abolishing strict labor laws as well as temporary work contracts that the center-left government believes are too often abused. Read more “Italy’s Renzi Wins Senate’s Backing for Labor Reforms”

Italy’s Renzi Wins Conservative Backing for Senate Reforms

Silvio Berlusconi
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi arrives for a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 24, 2011 (European Council)

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has won support from the country’s two largest conservative opposition parties — Forza Italia and the Northern League — to weaken the Senate.

His reforms would take away the upper chamber’s ability to block legislation and should make it easier for a single party or alliance to win a parliamentary majority. Read more “Italy’s Renzi Wins Conservative Backing for Senate Reforms”

Party Senators Rebel Against Renzi’s Plan to Overhaul Senate

Matteo Renzi Angela Merkel
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and German chancellor Angela Merkel address a joint news conference in Berlin, March 25 (Bundesregierung)

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi hit a stumbling block in his attempt to overhaul the country’s political system this week when thirteen senators said they were “suspending themselves” from the ruling Democratic Party.

While Renzi was on a state trip in Asia, the senators rebelled against his plan to replace the elected upper chamber with one made up of regional deputies and presidential appointees.

Renzi still has the votes to push through his reforms, especially if former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi sticks by his commitment to support them.

But the party rebellion shows it might be more precarious than Renzi thought to ask the Senate to practically abolish itself. Read more “Party Senators Rebel Against Renzi’s Plan to Overhaul Senate”

European Parliament, Local Elections Boost for Italy’s Renzi

David Cameron Matteo Renzi
Prime Ministers David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Matteo Renzi of Italy meet in London, England, April 1 (The Prime Minister’s Office)

Recent European Parliament and local elections have been a boost for Italy’s Matteo Renzo, the leftist prime minister who came to power in February.

Despite gains for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement in a number of cities, including Livorno, where the left had governed virtually unchallenged since the end of the Second World War, Renzi’s Democrats took control of well over half of the 139 cities and towns that held elections on Sunday. Read more “European Parliament, Local Elections Boost for Italy’s Renzi”

Renzi Announces Tax Cuts as Parliament Approves New Voting Law

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzo has said his government will cut business and income taxes by €10 billion and reform labor laws in order to bring down a record 12.9-percent unemployment rate.

The tax relief, which Renzi said will put an extra €80 in the pockets of workers each month, should be funded by extra budget cuts — including a reduction in the number of F-35 fighter jets Italy is buying from Lockheed Martin — and higher borrowing.

This reneges on a pledge to finance tax cuts entirely through spending reductions. Read more “Renzi Announces Tax Cuts as Parliament Approves New Voting Law”

Renzi Wins Confidence Vote Despite Policy Uncertainties

Late Monday night, Italy’s new prime minister, Matteo Renzi, cleared his first parliamentary hurdle by winning a confidence vote in the Senate.

The outgoing mayor of Florenco succeeds Enrico Letta, who resigned earlier this month under pressure from Renzi and his supporters in the Democratic Party.

The handover came with a partial cabinet reshuffle. Half the ministers are now women while Angelino Alfano, the leader of the junior center-right party, is no longer deputy prime minister. Read more “Renzi Wins Confidence Vote Despite Policy Uncertainties”

Letta’s Resignation Clears Way for Florence Mayor

Elio Di Rupo Enrico Letta
Belgian prime minister Elio Di Rupo greets his Italian counterpart, Enrico Letta, in Brussels, May 1, 2013 (Flickr/Elio Di Rupo)

Italian prime minister Enrico Letta’s irrevocable resignation on Friday has opened the door for Matteo Renzi, the mayor of Florence and leader of the ruling Democratic Party, to form a new government.

The shuffle had not been expected. After he was elected party leader in December, Renzi repeatedly insisted that he would not compromise the stability of Letta’s government. But the overwhelming support he had received in a party leadership contest resulted in a complicated cohabitation with the prime minister. Outside the government, Renzi could take strong initiatives on his own, such as striking a deal with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who leads the opposition Forza Italia party, to reform Italy’s electoral system. Read more “Letta’s Resignation Clears Way for Florence Mayor”

Small Parties Wary of Renzi-Berlusconi Electoral Reforms

The facade of the Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian parliament, in Rome, October 23, 2010
The facade of the Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian parliament, in Rome, October 23, 2010 (Stefano Maffei)

Italy’s politics may soon be reshaped fundamentally if Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Renzi, the leaders of the country’s two biggest parties, get their way.

The two have agreed to reform Italy’s electoral system, which left neither the left nor the right with a governing majority last year, resulting in months of bickering before a “grand coalition” was formed that has since been unable to pass major reforms.

The deal also aims to change the balance of power between the two legislative branches that has often led to weak majorities in the Senate. Read more “Small Parties Wary of Renzi-Berlusconi Electoral Reforms”

Florence Mayor Carves Out “Third Way” for Italy’s Democrats

Florence mayor Matteo Renzi believes Italy’s left can get up to 40 percent support in the next election if it imitates the “Third Way” policies of former British prime minister Tony Blair.

Renzi told Il Foglio newspaper that he is “fascinated with the idea of ​​doing in the Democratic Party what Tony Blair did in 1994 with New Labour.” Read more “Florence Mayor Carves Out “Third Way” for Italy’s Democrats”