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Matteo Renzi -2014-18

Matteo RenziPrime Minister Enrico Letta resigned on 13 February 2014 after his Democratic Party called for him to step aside to make way for a new government. Growing criticism over the slow pace of economic reform left Letta increasingly isolated. He was appointed to lead the cross-party coalition cobbled together after the deadlocked elections of 2013. He announced his decision minutes after his center-left Democratic Party overwhelmingly backed a proposal by leader Matteo Renzi to withdraw support from Letta and form a new government. "Italy cannot live in a situation of uncertainty and instability. We are at a crossroads," Renzi, the mayor of Florence, told the leadership committee in Rome. Letta did not attend the meeting.

Renzi was a beneficiary of the corrupt old ways of Italian politics, as the third consecutive, non-elected prime minister to hold office. The last time an Italian prime minister was the expression of the ballot box came with the election of tycoon Silvio Berlusconi in 2008. Matteo Renzi was born in Florence in January 1975 and grew up in Rignano sull'Arno. From an early age he lived the boy scout experience, which brought the desire to play and to "leave the world a little 'better than how we found it" (Baden Powell). This commitment also strongly marked his high school years, the "Dante" in Florence, where Matteo becomes the representative of the institute. A university student from the Faculty of Law contributed to the emergence of the "Committees for Prodi" in his first engagement in politics.

He worked as a manager in the family business that deals with marketing services, while continuing to scout commitment, as head of the R / S branch and as managing editor of the magazine "We walk together." In September of 1999 married Agnes, a student of letters, teacher today in Florentine high schools, and graduated in Law with a thesis entitled "Florence from 1951 to 1956: the first experience of Giorgio La Pira Mayor of Florence." She was the author of the book other "Mode - Guide to street styles and moving" and "But the redcoats not killed Aldo Moro", along with Lapo Pistelli.

Meanwhile he was the provincial secretary of the PPI and the coordinator of La Margherita Florentine. In 2004 he was elected President of the Province of Florence: during his tenure in the Province reduced taxes, cuts Ente costs and increased investment in culture and environment. In 2008 he decides to put himself back into the game: rejecting the proposal of the center to run for a second term as President of the Province, on September 29 he announced his candidacy in the primaries of the Democratic Party for the race for mayor of Florence. Challenging the inaction of the political establishment he won, to general astonishment, in the the primary collecting the 40.52% of the votes. In June 2009 he became Mayor.

With a cabinet halved compared to the past and made up of half women and half men, Florence was the first Italian city to approve a structural plan to 'zero' volumes and to say stop to concrete and the use of land. Part of the pedestrianization of the city center, he had a commitment to a greener city and a campaign against road deaths. In the following years he continued the work by increasing investment on schools, social programs and culture.

Every year on the feast of the patron saint, St. John, the city returned or opened famous landmarks: in 2010 the metal detector were removed from the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio and open all the input ports. In 2011, the San Niccol Tower was reopened. In 2012 it was opened for the first time to citizens of the Tower of Palazzo Vecchio Arnolfo. In 2013 the bookshop of the Palazzo Vecchio was opened. In 2013, racing in the Democratic Party, on December 8 he won the competition with 67.5% of the votes, becoming party secretary and beating Gianni Cuperlo, Giuseppe Civati and Gianni Pittella.

After receiving the mandate from President Giorgio Napolitano on 17 February 2014, the 39-year-old Renzi moved to form a new government, to deliver on his promise to lead Italy "out of the quagmire." Renzi, also currently the mayor of Florence, had no previous experience in national government or parliament. The new prime minister's own Democratic Party did not have a majority in parliament. The New Center-Right, which broke off from People of Freedom, the party of Silvio Berlusconi, held enough seats to prove critical for Renzi. Angelino Alfano, the leader of the New Center-Right, told his party's base that he would demand promises from Renzi before joining the new government. Other parties announced they would remain in opposition.

This was an outcome completely new from many points of view - he was not member of the parliament. He had not been elected anywhere except in Florence. He was a mayor of a city, nothing more, he had never been member of the parliament. He made a government using the allies of Berlusconi.

Renzi, nicknamed Il Rottamatore or "the scrapper," is the third prime minister in a row selected by the president rather than the voters. President Napolitano ruled out snap elections as parliament was then discussing a new electoral law. While Renzi said, if appointed prime minister, he would wish to stay in office until 2018, pressure for new elections would mount if the law were to be passed soon after his appointment.

Renzi presents himself as willing to dismantle the old party elite - a type of Tuscan Tony Blair. He has promised a radical programm of reforms to reduce unemployment, boost growth and tackle problems of excessive bureaucracy. "All together, we have to pull ourselves out of the swamp," he said. "This is not about a handoff. It is not about continuing in the same direction but about changing the goal, the pace and the rhythm." Renzi promised a new political rulebook by the end of February and a new labor reform plan by the end of March. He would reform the public administration in April, and address the prickly issue of finance and revenue reform in May.

Renzi faced a bigger set of challenges with less of a track record than any of his predecessors. At age 39, he had growing support nationally, but had never been elected to a political office more important than that as mayor of Italy's ninth largest city. The public, while it had a generally positive view of Renzi himself -- was, according to the polling firm Opinioni, "weary" of ineffective and short-lived governments. Having heard many empty promises from politicians in recent years, Italians had reservations about the prospects of a Renzi government.

Renzi promised to start work on reforms 22 February 2014 after he named a new cabinet and formally accepted the mandate to form an administration he said would stay in place until 2018. He would govern with the same multi-party alliance that hampered his predecessor's efforts. Six of his ministers were part of Letta's cabinet, three of them from the small center-right NCD party on which his parliamentary majority depended.

Renzi announced rapid reforms, and promised Italians a revolution after years of apathy. For his efforts, Italian voters rewarded the 39-year-old with a dream outcome in the European elections in May: 40 percent supported his party's politics, a feat achieved by no other ruling party in the EU's other large member states.

Initially he did a lot of talking; for example, by announcing a fundamental reform once a month. Implementation, however, was less successful. So he has introduced a 1,000-day program and pushed reforms back to 2016. The Italian government recognized that it needed more time for its revolution.

Italy headed for one of the biggest labor market shake-ups in years, after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won parliamentary approval on 04 December 2014 to press on with sweeping reforms. The so-called Jobs Act is part of the 10-month-old government's ambitious push to jumpstart an economy that had all but ground to a halt and was veering towards its third recession in six years. Renzi's proposed reform plans pitted many members of his own Democratic Party against him and angered trade unions. Workers in Italy demonstrated in large numbers and clashed with police in a nationwide strike against proposed government reforms. Unions protested the new law that enables firms to easily lay off employees.

The expected decision by Italy's president to step down in 2015 would leave Prime Minister Matteo Renzi facing one of his most delicate political challenges. The Italian head of state holds wide but loosely defined powers, including appointing prime ministers, and can veto legislation and use the office's moral weight to influence the political agenda. If Renzi cannot steer an acceptable candidate through the complicated presidential election process, it will raise doubts about his ability to push through economic reforms and planned changes to the constitution and electoral system. That would fuel speculation about early elections, adding to the political uncertainty surrounding the euro zone.

Italy's veteran President Giorgio Napolitano resigned on 14 January 2015, setting the stage for the election of a new head of state, a thorny process which could prove a political headache for Matteo Renzi's government. Lawmakers and regional deputies had 15 days after the presidents resignation to begin choosing his replacement, with 28 January 2015 earmarked as the likely date for voting to commence. The old guard of Italian politicians dominated press speculation. They include Romano Prodi, twice prime minister, and Pierluigi Bersani, former center-left leader who stepped down after a dismal election performance in 2013.

On 31 January 2015 the Italian parliament and regional officials elected Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge and veteran center-left politician, to be the countrys new president. Three inconclusive rounds of voting failed to produce the necessary two-thirds majority from the 1,009 voters. The fourth round required a simple 505 majority, and Mattarella was voted in. The victory was welcomed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

In regional governor elections in Italy 31 May 2015, the ruling Democratic Party performed below expectations, which could hamper Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his ambitious reform agenda. Projections showed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) with 22.6 percent of the overall vote in seven regions, ahead of the 5-Star Movement on 19.6 percent, the Northern League on 12.9 percent and Forza Italia on 10.3 percent.

Dozens of former Rome city officials and business leaders went on trial in November 2015 in a case known as "Mafia Capitale." They were accused of corruption and other behavior that led to millions of euros being removed from the administration. Opposition to Italys endemic cronyism and sleaze is the foundation of M5Ss appeal to voters and the Roman electorate have had their fill of those in recent years. Dozens of local businessmen, officials and politicians are currently on trial for their involvement in a criminal network that ripped off the city to the tune of tensif not hundredsof millions. From stealing the funds allocated to get ethnic Roma children to school out of isolated camps, to paving the citys streets with wafer-thin surfaces, scams abounded for years, according to prosecutors.

Italian premier Matteo Renzi took flak in January 2016 for hiding naked Roman statues from visiting Iran leader Hassan Rouhani. Opposition politicians have accused him of "surrendering" Italy's culture. in order not to offend visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, naked statues in Rome's Capitoline Museum were covered up during his visit. According to museum staff, they were asked to block the ancient artworks off with wooden panels. By Janaury 2016 Renzi proudly claimed his reforms were bearing fruit, with unemployment down to 11.5 per cent (from 12.7 per cent when he took office) and with the economy having grown 0.8 per cent in 2015 and scheduled to grow by 1.4 per cent in 2016, after three consecutive years of a contracting GDP.

But Paddy Agnew writing for the Irish Times observed in February 2016 that "The Renzi style of government, at times, seems based more on the photo-op, the clever soundbite, the apt tweet and the monologue news conference rather than a substantial analysis of complex government issues.... senior figures in Brussels as well as elsewhere have concluded that, whatever the shortcomings of Renzi, the alternative would be much more worrying."

For the first time, a survey in May 2016 put Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement just ahead of Renzi's Democratic Party (PD). 5-Star was on 28.4 percent, compared to 28 percent for the PD, according to the pollster Index Research, in a survey for the current affairs program Piazza Pulita. Previously, the PD had led by between one and four percentage points. 5-Star, founded in 2009 by comedian Beppe Grillo, is popular among younger voters.

Italians voted 05 June 2016 in local ballots viewed as a test for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his center-left Democratic Party. Italians voted for more than 1,300 municipal councils, with the main focus on the big cities of Bologna, Milan, Naples, Turin, and Rome. The anti-establishment candidate was elected Rome's first female mayor after runoff elections 19 June 2016. hirty-seven-year-old lawyer Virginia Raggi led by a 2-1 margin over Premier Matteo Renzi's chosen candidate, Roberto Giachetti, who conceded defeat less than an hour after polls closed. Rome was one of more than 100 cities and towns across Italy that held local runoff elections, representing more than a quarter of the country's population.

The populist Five Star movement (M5S) emerged as the best-supported opposition to the center left, Democratic Party (PD)-led coalition of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and the stakes are extremely high for a movement that was only founded in 2009. With the ebullient Renzis star waning slightly, success in Rome could provide a platform for a tilt at national power in general elections due in 2018.




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