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Italy set to swear in youngest leader in history

Within weeks of being elected as leader of Italy's most powerful political organisation, the centre-left Democratic Party, Matteo Renzi is set to become the country's Prime Minister.

Despite not even being an MP, The Mayor of Florence has been asked to form Italy's next government and is claiming a mandate to enact an ambitious series of reforms.

After almost no reform in Italy for a decade, Renzi is promising constitutional reform by the end of February, jobs reform in March, public administration reform in April and tax reform in May.

Is he the start of a brave new era in Italian politics? ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports:

Berlusconi: Accord will 'simplify the political system'

Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi said he and Silvio Berlusconi were "in tune", agreeing on the need for an electoral law that "favours governability and a bi-polar system, and eliminates the blackmail power of the smallest parties".

Berlusconi said the accord would "consolidate the largest parties and simplify the political system".

PM Enrico Letta, whose relations with Renzi have sometimes been tense, said the accord was "going in the right direction" towards electoral reform, which would need parliamentary approval.

Both Berlusconi and Renzi also favour a reform of the upper house Senate so that it does not merely duplicate the work of the lower house Chamber of Deputies as well as changes to the governing structure of Italy's regions and provinces.


Italy's former PM Silvio Berlusconi returns to politics

The controversial former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has returned to the political scene after a tax fraud conviction, striking a deal with the leader of the largest centre-left party on electoral reform that could give Italy badly needed stability.

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Credit: Vandeville Eric/ABACA/Press Association Images

But the Saturday night agreement between 77-year-old Berlusconi, still head of the centre-right Forza Italia party he founded, and Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi has divided the governing coalition.

Smaller parties in the coalition of Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who also belongs to the PD, are irate about such an agreement because they could risk extinction under a new electoral system.

Berlusconi expelled from Italian parliament

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been expelled from the Italian parliament following his conviction for tax fraud.

Berlusconi speaking to reporters in Rome earlier today. Credit: Reuters

This fraud has been examined by three different Italian courts, including the high court. Today the Italian Senate voted to strip him of his seat as the convictions were upheld.

Italian Senate vote to recommend expel Berlusconi

The Italian Senate Committee has voted to recommend the expulsion of Silvio Berlusconi from the Senate after being convicted of tax fraud, according to Reuters.

The Committee added that it will present its recommendation to expel the former prime minister within 20 days.

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Credit: Eric Vandeville/ABACAPRESS.COM


Berlusconi retreats on forcing confidence vote

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has retreated in his attempt to force a vote of confidence in the Italian government Credit: Vandeville Eric/ABACA/Press Association Images

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has retreated in his attempt to force a vote of confidence in the Italian government.

Berlusconi had forced the vote by demanding that five government ministers from his party, the People of Freedom Party (PDL), pull out from the administration.

But Berlusconi withdrew his demand after it became clear that several of his senators would vote with the government on the motion, and he now says he will also support the government.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates said Berlusconi had been forced into "a humiliating defeat" after trying to bring down the government.

"Berlusconi will be kicked out of Parliament on Friday, after today his era is over," Mates said. "Italy will be a duller but better and more moral place."

Italian PM Letta accuses Berlusconi of telling a 'huge lie'

Centre-left Prime Minister Enrico Letta came to power in April. Credit: Vandeville Eric/ABACA/Press Association Images

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has accused Silvio Berlusconi of telling a "huge lie" after the former PM pulled his ministers out of the country's ruling coalition.

Mr Berlusconi said the withdrawal was caused by Mr Letta violating coalition agreements by freezing government activities, which he said had set off an increase in sales tax.

Mr Letta, though, said Mr Berlusconi was using the sales tax issue as cover for actions that were actually motivated by his own legal problems.

Italy's president, Giorgio Napolitano, has called for a resolution to avoid a return to the polls.

Silvio Berlusconi: Government freeze is a 'violation'

Tensions between the two sides of Silvio Berlusconi and Prime Minister Enrico Letta have been mounting for weeks following moves to expel Berlusconi from parliament after his conviction for tax fraud last month.

The decision taken by Prime Minister Enrico Letta to freeze government activities... is a serious violation of the pacts on which this government was formed.

– Statement from Silvio Berlusconi

This week PDL lawmakers threatened to walk out of parliament if he is expelled from the Senate over the conviction.

Berlusconi pulls his ministers from Italy's ruling coalition

Italian centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi pulled his ministers out of the ruling coalition on Saturday, effectively bringing down the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta and leaving Europe's third-largest economy in chaos.

Silvio Berlusconi. Credit: Vandeville Eric/ABACA/Press Association Images

The announcement, which will likely lead either to new elections or the formation of a new coalition, came a day after Letta challenged Berlusconi's party to support him in a confidence vote in parliament following weeks of tension.

Late on Friday, the cabinet failed to agree vital fiscal measures to bring the budget deficit within European Union limits, leaving the fragile coalition of traditional rivals from the left and right near total breakdown.

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