President denies putting time limit on Letta government

Premier says 'will face consequences' if reforms fail

President denies putting time limit on Letta government

Rome, June 6 - The office of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Thursday denied media reports he had set a time limit on the coalition left-right government of Premier Enrico Letta. "People continue to believe the ridiculous rumor of a time limit set by the president on the duration of the current government," said a statement. "It would be an act of fundamental correctness to recognize this falsehood rather than continue with a controversy that is clearly unfounded". Napolitano played a pivotal role in negotiating the formation of the current government after inconclusive February elections produced two months of parliamentary gridlock. The newly elected premier has been charged with pushing through a series of reforms that would prevent that type of stalemate from happening again, though his task is fraught with challenges as his government, composed of members from his own center-left Democratic Party (PD) and three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, is viewed as highly volatile. Nevertheless Letta told viewers of La7 television late Wednesday he fully intended to see his government through the full five-year parliamentary term. But he added that if he was incapable of enacting reform within an anticipated 18-month time frame, "I will face the consequences".

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