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Italian PM Letta to resign, Renzi poised to step in

Published on Feb 14, 2014 5:50 PM
 
Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta gestures as he leaves his house in downtown Rome, on Feb 14, 2014. Mr Letta will formally step down on Friday, Feb 14, 2014, in a flash political crisis and his 39-year-old leftist challenger Matteo Renzi is poised to win the nomination to replace him. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta will formally step down on Friday in a flash political crisis and his 39-year-old leftist challenger Matteo Renzi is poised to win the nomination to replace him.

Mr Letta said on Thursday he would submit his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano following his final cabinet meeting on Friday after less than a year in power at the head of an uneasy coalition.

The drama in Rome comes after weeks of feuding between Mr Letta and Mr Renzi, the newly-elected ambitious leader of the governing centre-left Democratic Party, which fell behind him in calling for a change in government.

"Mortal Jump", read a headline in the weekly L'Espresso, saying Mr Renzi was "pulling the strings of an operation organised at a table two months ago: it could crown his leadership or reduce his popularity to smoke".

 
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