FT paints Enrico Letta as capable mediator

Paper sees Italian premier candidate as bid for grand coalition

FT paints Enrico Letta as capable mediator

London, April 24 - Enrico Letta is a centre-left Democratic Party (PD) loyalist and seasoned mediator, wrote the Financial Times in profile published online on Wednesday. FT Rome Correspondent Guy Dinmore's description of the 46-year-old politician chosen to form a new Italian government paints him as "a party loyalist working behind the scenes among its bitterly divided factions, while acting as the long-time bridge to Silvio Berlusconi and the centre-right". Letta served as cabinet secretary under the centre-left government led by Romano Prodi from 2006 to 2008, and is nephew of Gianni Letta, who held the same position under the Silvio Berlusconi-led centre-right government that followed. The article points to Letta's strong working relationship with Angelino Alfano, Berlusconi loyalist and former centre-right justice minister, as a reason Letta is now viewed as promising broker for a grand coalition between centre-right and centre-left. But Letta must also contend with vehement resistance within centre-left ranks. "His diplomatic skills will be tested by the leftwing of his own party, which is strongly opposed to forming a coalition," Dinmore wrote. The article also said that although Letta was "a convinced pro-European who speaks excellent English and French - rare in Italian politics," he was "seldom seen as destined for high office" until two months of parliamentary deadlock and bickering cast him as a possible "anodyne".

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