Rome, February 17 - Democratic Party (PD) leader and ex-premier Matteo Renzi "hasn't even phoned" dissenting minority leaders to avert a looming split in the centre-left group, confidant and Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said Friday. "How the f**k don't you make a phonecall in a situation like this," Delrio said in an overheard remark during a meeting on Rome's public transport system. In a newspaper interview earlier, Renzi appealed to the leftwing minority not to split and instead express its views at an assembly on Sunday called to decide the date of a party congress. "Don't go, come, take part, the doors are open, no one is ejecting anyone, let's start talking about Italy again," he said in the interview with Corriere della Sera. On Facebook, later, he said: "We must stop talking about issues that only interest Roman palazzi. And start giving solutions to Italian's problems again." Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, head of a middle-ground faction, tried a last-minute mediation, saying a split now would be "incomprehensible" and urging Renzi to concede some ground on the date of the party congress and a general election, as well as his alleged bid to turn the PD into a personal party. "Those who have most responsibility must also be the most generous, and make the biggest effort," he said. On the leftwing minority side, PD leadership candidate Michele Emiliano, the governor of Puglia, said "Renzi is Napoleonic, and so he's heading for some Waterloos. "Let him avert the biggest disaster of the European left. The solution is one step away, it would be enough to hold the congress in May". Emiliano said later PD will not split if Renzi grants a request from the minority to hold primaries in September. "I'm going to try and call Renzi, seeing that he's not calling us. "If he says yes there'll be no split," said Emiliano. Renzi wants a congress in April and a general election in September. The minority, which includes former leader Pier Luigi Bersani and two other leadership candidates, Tuscany Governor Enrico Rossi and former House whip Roberto Speranza, want a congress to be put off and Premier Paolo Gentiloni to serve out the government's term until February next year.
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