Rome

Minister unveils blueprint for PD renewal

Barca seen as offering hope for change

Minister unveils blueprint for PD renewal

Rome, April 12 - Italy needs not only a new government, but a new form of government, says Fabrizio Barca, an outgoing cabinet minister who has just joined the Democratic Party (PD). Barca, who has won praise for targeting funds as minister of territorial cohesion since his appointment in November 2011 in the emergency technocrat government of Mario Monti, on Friday unveiled his manifesto for a renewed party and government. "Every single experience of my 16 months of work...leads to this dry political conclusion: without a new form of (political) party, none can govern Italy". The public distrusts the mainstream political parties and their "persistent failure of good government," he said, in introducing the seven-chapter document that he has developed for a left-wing party that would be anchored in Italy's Constitution. Barca's vision of the new party would be one that promises to make better use of public funds, instill stronger civic virtues, and would commit to urban renewal. The Italian media have speculated that Barca, a long-time economy ministry advisor who first made his name in the early 1990s as one of then-premier Carlo Azeglio Ciampi's young gurus, might provide an alternative to Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi as future PD leader. Barca, the son of a heavyweight in the old Italian Communist Party (PCI), one of the precursors of the PD, joined the PD Thursday night. For now he has said he is only aiming to become a voice on the party executive. But observers see him as a possible alternative successor to leader Pier Luigi Bersani, who is being increasingly challenged by the younger, more dynamic, media-savvy and centrist Renzi. Barca's announcement came as Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said that the 10 experts he asked to prepare a government programme capable of winning cross-party support had found "common ground". The head of state added that it is now up to the political parties to make a "similar effort of good will for an agreement" to break the deadlock Italy has endured since February's inconclusive general election.

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