Renzi: there's no 'secret deal' with Berlusconi

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Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he and Silvio Berlusconi would go their separate ways once reforms were passed. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
16:10 CEST+02:00
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday denied promising Silvio Berlusconi the chance to run in the next Italian elections, despite the former premier being banned from office, in a deal to gain approval for government reforms.

Renzi denied the suggestion that he was involved in shady dealings with his political opponent, dismissing the idea as being bred from distrust.

“They think that I’ve signed something with Berlusconi and put it in a drawer? This is the typical culture of suspicion from one part of the left,” Renzi told La Repubblica.

“I haven’t done it, I don’t think I will do it,” the centre-left prime minister said.

Renzi first came under fire for meeting Berlusconi in January, when as Democratic Party (PD) leader he was tasked with drawing up proposals for a new electoral law.

But despite Berlusconi being banned from office last year for tax fraud, he is still seen as a key player in the reform process by Renzi and the duo are due to meet again this Thursday.

“Everyone is fundamental,” he said, adding that Berlusconi’s support is welcome but the government already has enough support in parliament to pass reforms.

As debate in parliament this week focuses on revamping the Senate, the meeting between Berlusconi and Renzi is said to return to redrawing Italy’s electoral law.

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The prime minister said there had been “enough” talk of improper dealings between the pair, asserting that they would go their separate ways once the new legislation was passed.

“After the reforms, we will return to be divided,” Renzi said. “We’re doing the reforms really to avoid being constrained to govern together in the future.” 

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