Renzi says idiot could do job of Constitutional experts

Florence mayor says reform consultants will state the obvious

Renzi says idiot could do job of Constitutional experts

Florence, June 7 - Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, the rising star of Italian politics, said Friday that an idiot could do the job a group of Constitutional experts has been tasked with to help frame reforms to make the country easier to govern. This week Premier Enrico Letta's left-right administration named a group of 30 'wise people' who will help a panel of 40 parliamentarians draft the reforms that will be voted on in parliament. These will include a new electoral law, cuts to the number of MPs and stripping the Senate of its equal status to the Lower House. "The experts will tell us things we already know, that the bureaucracy must change, but an idiot could do that, you don't need a wise man," Renzi, a member of Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said on Italian radio. Renzi has said several times that there is a risk the government will end up prevaricating and failing to deliver reforms that are widely considered vital to ending years of ineffective administration. Law-making is slower in Italy than other countries because the Senate has the same powers as the House. The current electoral law, meanwhile, has been widely criticised because it does not let voters pick their MPs and tends to produce different majorities in the two houses, as happened in February's general election which led to two months of deadlock. Letta's government has set itself an 18-month deadline to have the reforms in place. Renzi, a telegenic 38-year-old who has been compared to the young Tony Blair, is considering running to be the leader of the PD at a party congress later this year. The PD is the biggest group in parliament but it has been ravaged by internal divisions after former party secretary Pier Luigi Bersani squandered a big lead in the polls before February's election with a colourless campaign. This culminated with the PD coming first by a narrow margin in the vote and not having a working majority in parliament, which eventually forced it to form an alliance with the centre-left People of Freedom (PdL) party of bitter rival Silvio Berlusconi. Renzi said the PD needed to have fewer qualms about trying to reach out to disillusioned centre-right voters the next time the country goes to the polls. "The next time we vote the PD should not turn up its nose, it should go and get the votes of the centre right," said Renzi, who came second to Bersani last year in the primary to select the centre-left's premier candidate. "Now we have a broad coalition government, not a centre-left government. During the primaries I said we had to go and get the votes of disappointed centre-right supporters. "(We didn't try that) and, instead, we ended up with centre-right ministers".

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