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Italy PM Renzi faces party revolt over constitutional reform

Published on Jun 12, 2014 7:44 PM

ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's reform agenda for Italy suffered a setback on Thursday when 13 senators from his centre-left Democratic Party (PD) withdrew their backing in protest against his moves for constitutional change.

The 39-year-old former mayor of Florence will not be assured of a majority in the Senate without the 13 defectors and their absence will make it extremely difficult for him to push through legislation.

Mr Renzi's plan to abolish the Senate as an elected chamber in order to streamline the passage of legislation, set out when he took office in February, has been held up in the Senate Constitutional Affairs Committee. This week, Mr Renzi removed two PD opponents of the plan from the committee.

In a shock response on Thursday, 13 PD senators said they were "suspending themselves" from the party, accused Mr Renzi of authoritarian tactics at odds with the constitution and said they wanted an open discussion with the Prime Minister.

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