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  • Speedy actin of taxation and a revision of the law governing national general elections top the new year political agenda. The hated housing tax IMU was originally applied to primary residences, and the income from it divided between the state and the local townships. But it was abolished and application of new substitute tax laws is proving chaotic. In addition, Matteo Renzi, the new head of the Partito Democratico (PD), demands revision within days, not weeks, of the "Porcellum" electoral law, declared unconstitutional last month, eight years after it was adopted.
  • To mix a metaphor or two, just when Premier Enrico Letta's government seemed to have a green light, a spanner was tossed into the works: the budget bill, hammered together in late evening sessions this week by Letta and his governing coalition partner Angelino Alfano of the center-right Partito della Liberta'-Forza Italia. Supposedly this draft budget for 2014, which went before the Chamber of Deputies this week but is still far from being approved, is meant to reduce the pressure on tax payers while also stimulating the economy. So far it has satisfied very few in the center-right and angering the trade unions, which threaten to call a general strike.
  • After threatening to torpedo the government, Silvio Berlusconi voted today to continue to share power with the Partito Democratico (PD). The former Premier's surprise about-face, with the support of his entire parliamentary group, means that the five-months-old government headed by Enrico Letta continues in office, and postpones recourse to early national general elections. The great mediator in the situation was President Giorgio Napolitano, more popular than ever.
  • Aboard the omnibus government which the canny and youthful Premier-designate Enrico Letta has assembled, under the watchful eye of President Giorgio Napolitano, are 21 cabinet ministers. Most are fresh faces, and the new look is cause for optimism. Despite a smattering of old pols, there are gifted young politicians plus a few experts, if not always in the fields they are destined to govern. And there are the politically correct, who include more women than any Italian cabinet has ever before fielded. Cabinet support comes from Silvio Berlusconi's Freedom Party (PdL), Mario Monti's smaller centrist group Movimento Civico, and Letta's own Partito Democratico (PD).
  • In his attempt to weld together governing partners so as to end over two months of dangerous political void, Premier Designate Enrico Letta, 46, of the Partito Democratico (PD) has called for a "slim and sober" cabinet that will hit the ground running. Letta was called upon to try to form a government only l7 hours after Napolitano's re-election to succeed himself as president. His program points for a "service government" reflect some of the advice put forward by the so-called "sages" appointed last month by President Giorgio Napolitano. If he succeeds, a new government is expected within the week.