ROME, February 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has officially stepped down. The cabinet’s head passed the mandate, which he received April 28, 2013, to Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday.
Earlier, local media quoting a source in the governmental Chigi palace reported that Letta decided to step down. The reason to do so became the results of Italy’s Democratic Party leadership session. The Democratic Party is the leading political force headed by the prime minister. At this session, the young mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi, who is also the party’s secretary, sharply criticized the government’s activity and stated that reforms were needed the soonest possible. As a result, the session’s participants took a decision that the cabinet should be changed. 136 people voted for the government’s resignation and only 16 voted against it.
Meanwhile, Matteo Renzi is believed to be the most likely candidate for the prime minister’s post, but the make-up of the next government remains unclear.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano accepted the resignation of the prime minister and pledged to find a quick solution to the governmental crisis that arose after its head had stepped down.
The presidential Quirinal palace press service said that Napolitano will start consultations with the country's leadership and political parties' representatives on Friday at 16:00 GMT. These consultations will last for two days. First of all, the Italian president will meet with speakers of the upper and lower houses of parliament.
According to local media, representatives of the oppositionist Five Star Movement declared about their refusal to take part in the presidential consultations. Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the Forza Italia party, expressed his willingness to lead its delegation on the talks. In late November 2013, the ex-prime minister was excluded from the senate after the final confirmation of his sentence on fraud connected with his enterprise Mediaset. Representatives of Forza Italia pointed out that if for this reason Berlusconi’s participation in the consultations would be impossible, the party would boycott them.
Since there are prospects of forming a new government headed by the Democratic Party’s secretary Matteo Renzi, it is not ruled out that supporters of Berlusconi may be included in the new cabinet. Local media also leave open the possibility that some actual ministers would preserve their posts.