Italian PM faces showdown with party that could lead to resignation
ROME (REUTERS) - Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta faces a showdown with his own centre-left party on Thursday that could lead to his resignation and the appointment of Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi as head of a new government within days.
Mr Letta, a low-key moderate appointed to lead the cross-party coalition patched together after last year's deadlocked elections, is fighting for his political future after growing criticism over the slow pace of economic reform.
A meeting of the 140-strong leadership committee of the Democratic Party, known as PD, will decide whether he has the backing of his party to continue, or will be forced to stand aside less than a year after taking office.
On Wednesday, he defied Mr Renzi to challenge him openly, and as the meeting approached, he rejected approaches from party officials to go quietly, though the party denied rumours that he had been offered the economy ministry portfolio.