Enrico Letta

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Enrico Letta
Enrico Letta 2013.jpg
55th Prime Minister of Italy
In office
28 April 2013 – 22 February 2014
President Giorgio Napolitano
Deputy Angelino Alfano
Preceded by Mario Monti
Succeeded by Matteo Renzi
Minister of Agriculture
In office
27 January 2014 – 22 February 2014
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Nunzia De Girolamo
Succeeded by Maurizio Martina
Secretary to the Council of Ministers
In office
17 May 2006 – 8 May 2008
Prime Minister Romano Prodi
Preceded by Gianni Letta
Succeeded by Gianni Letta
Minister of Industry
In office
22 December 1999 – 11 June 2001
Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema
Giuliano Amato
Preceded by Pier Luigi Bersani
Succeeded by Antonio Marzano
Minister of European Affairs
In office
21 October 1998 – 22 December 1999
Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema
Preceded by Lamberto Dini
Succeeded by Patrizia Toia
Member of the European Parliament
for Northeast Italy
In office
14 June 2004 – 10 April 2006
Personal details
Born (1966-08-20) 20 August 1966 (age 48)
Pisa, Italy
Political party Christian Democracy (Before 1994)
Italian People's Party (1994–2002)
The Daisy (2002–2007)
Democratic Party (2007–present)
Spouse(s) Gianna Fregonara
Children 3
Alma mater University of Pisa
Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Enrico Letta (pronounced [enˌriːko ˈlɛtta]; born 20 August 1966) is an Italian politician who was Prime Minister of Italy from 2013 to 2014, leading a grand coalition comprising the centre-left Democratic Party, the centre-right People of Freedom, and the centrist Civic Choice. He has also been a Member of the Chamber of Deputies since 2006.[1] Letta was Minister of European Affairs from 1998 to 1999 and Minister of Industry from 1999 to 2001, and served as Secretary to the Council of Ministers from 2006 to 2008. He is a founding member of the Democratic Party; formerly he belonged to Christian Democracy, Italian People's Party and The Daisy. His uncle is centre-right politician Gianni Letta, a trusted advisor of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Early life and education[edit]

Enrico Letta was born in Pisa, Tuscany, to Giorgio Letta, an Abruzzo-born professor of mathematics who teaches probability theory at the University of Pisa (member of the Accademia dei Lincei and of the Accademia nazionale delle scienze), and Anna Bianchi, a Sardinian born in Sassari and raised in Porto Torres.[2][3] Born into a numerous family, uncles on his father's side include the centre-right politician Gianni Letta—a close advisor of Silvio Berlusconi—and the archeologist Cesare Letta, while one of his paternal aunts, Maria Teresa Letta, is vice president of the Italian Red Cross;[2] a maternal great-uncle is the poet and playwright Gian Paolo Bazzoni.[3]

After spending part of his childhood in Strasbourg[4] he completed his schooling in Italy at the liceo classico Galileo Galilei in Pisa.[5] He has a degree in political science, which he received from the University of Pisa and subsequently obtained a Doctorate at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (a Graduate School with University status).[6][n 1]

Political career[edit]

Letta began his political career in the party Christian Democracy (DC),[8] the dominant Roman Catholic formation that housed diverse right- and left-leaning political factions within a single catch-all party. From 1991 to 1995 Letta was president of the Youth of the European People's Party,[6] (the official youth wing of the European People's Party—the political party at European level founded by national-level Christian democratic parties, including the Italian DC); he used his presidency to help strengthen long-term connections among a variety of centrist parties in Europe, and has since remained a convinced supporter of the European Union.[9][10]

During the Ciampi government (1993–1994) he worked as chief-of-staff for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Beniamino Andreatta; this left-leaning Christian Democrat economist with whom Letta had already been collaborating in a think tank (Agenzia di Ricerche e Legislazione, AREL) played a highly influential role in his political career.[6][9]

Following the collapse of the DC in 1994, Letta joined its immediate successor, the much smaller Italian People's Party; after serving as secretary general of the Treasury's Euro Committee (1996–1997), he became deputy secretary of the party in 1997–1998, when it was fully allied with the centre-left.[11] In 1998, he was appointed Minister of European Affairs in Massimo D'Alema's Cabinet at the age of 32, becoming the youngest cabinet minister in post-war Italy.[8] In 1999 Letta became Minister of Industry. In the 2001 general election he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a member of Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy, a newly formed centrist formation to which the Italian People's Party had adhered.[11][12]

In 2004 Letta left the Italian Parliament to be elected as a member of the European Parliament, where he sat in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group and was a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.[13] In 2006 he returned to the Chamber of Deputies and was made Secretary to the Council of Ministers in the Prodi II Cabinet, thereby succeeding his uncle Gianni Letta who had held the same post in the outgoing third Berlusconi Cabinet, before reconsigning the post to his uncle two years later on the formation of the fourth Berlusconi government.[9][10]

Having been a founding member of the Democratic Party (PD) in 2007, Letta stood in the first leadership election (an open primary) and came third with 11% of the vote.[14] During the next leadership election of 2009, he supported the eventual winner, Pier Luigi Bersani, and went on to be elected (on 7 November) Deputy Secretary by the party's national convention.[15]

On 20 April 2013, together with the effectiveness of the resignation of the Secretary Bersani, owing to the bankruptcy of the candidates for President of the Republic of Franco Marini and Romano Prodi, during the 2013 presidential election the whole leadership of the Democratic Party, including Deputy Secretary Letta, resigned from their positions.

Prime Minister[edit]

Enrico Letta receiving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome, 2013.

On 24 April 2013, Letta was invited to form a government by President Giorgio Napolitano, after the resignation of Pier Luigi Bersani following weeks of political deadlock after the 2013 general election.[16] On 27 April Letta formally accepted the task of leading a Grand coalition government, with support from the centre-left Democratic Party (of which he stays Deputy Secretary), the centre-right People of Freedom, and the centrist Civic Choice, and subsequently listed the members of his Cabinet. The government he formed became the first in the history of the Italian Republic to include representatives of all the major candidate-coalitions that had competed in the election. His close relationship with his uncle Gianni Letta, one of Silvio Berlusconi's most trusted advisors, was perceived as a way of overcoming the bitter hostility between the two opposing camps.[4][17] Letta appointed Angelino Alfano, secretary of the People of Freedom, as his Deputy Prime Minister. Letta was formally sworn-in as Prime Minister on 28 April; during the ceremony, a man fired shots outside Palazzo Chigi and wounded two Carabinieri.[18]

On 14 June 2013 Letta promotes a summit at Palazzo Chigi with Ministers of Economy and Labour of Italy, Germany, France and Spain on the issue of youth unemployment.[19] On 15 June, the government issues the "Decree of doing," measure aimed at hiring policies for economic recovery.[20]

On 17 and 18 June, he participated in his first G8 at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.[21]

On 28 September the five ministers of The People of Freedom resigned on the orders of their leader, Silvio Berlusconi, pointing to the decision to postpone the decree that prevented the increase of the VAT from 21 to 22%, thus opening a government crisis.[22] The next day, Letta had a meeting with President Napoltiano to take stock of the possible alternatives. Previously the Head of State had said he would dissolve parliament only if there were no possible alternatives.[23]

On 2 October, Letta won a parliamentary vote of confidence.[24][25] Dozens of Berlusconi's supporters prepared to defy him and vote in favour of the government, prompting him to reverse course and announce that he too would back the prime minister.[26][27][28] The government got 235 votes in favor and 70 against in 2 October morning vote in the Senate, and in the afternoon the Chamber of Deputies voted 435 in favor and 162 against. Letta could thus continue his Grand coalition government.[29] He called for another vote on 11 December after Forza Italia pulled out of the coalition after Berlusconi was evicted from parliament.[30]

The growing criticism of the slow pace of Italian economic reform left Letta increasingly isolated.[31] On 13 February 2014, following tensions with his left-wing rival Matteo Renzi, Letta announced he would resign as Prime Minister the following day. The Democratic Party voted heavily in favour of backing Renzi's call for a new government, a "new phase" and a "radical programme" of reform. Minutes after the PD national committee backed the Renzi's proposal by 136 votes to 16, with two abstentions, Palazzo Chigi – the official residence of the prime minister – said Letta would be going to the Quirinale on Friday to tender his resignation to Giorgio Napolitano. In a speech earlier, Renzi had paid tribute to Letta's government, saying the meeting was not intended to put it "on trial". But, without directly proposing himself as the next premier, he said the eurozone's third-largest economy urgently needed "a new phase" and "radical programme" to push through reforms. The motion made clear "the necessity and urgency of opening a new phase with a new executive". Speaking to the party leadership, Renzi had said Italy was "at a crossroads" and faced either holding fresh elections or a new government without a return to the polls.[32] On 14 February 2014 Giorgio Napolitano accepted Letta's resignation from the office of Prime Minister.[31][33]

Other activities[edit]

Letta is the secretary general of the think tank Agenzia di Ricerche e Legislazione (AREL), founded by Beniamino Andreatta. He himself founded the associations Trecentosessanta and VeDrò.[34] Letta is a member of the European committee of the Trilateral Commission[35] and of the executive committee of the Aspen Institute Italia.[36]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Gianna Fregonara and they have three children,[37] Giacomo, Lorenzo and Francesco Letta.

He is known to be fond of listening to Dire Straits and playing Subbuteo.[38] He speaks French and English.[10]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ It is not altogether clear whether the Doctorate degree was obtained in International Law in 1997 as reported in his curriculum vitae,[5] or in Political Science in 1999 as reported by ANSA.[7]
References
  1. ^ Italian Parliament Website LETTA Enrico – PD Retrieved 24 April 2013
  2. ^ a b Motta, Nino (2 February 2013). "Un Letta per ogni stagione". Il Centro. 
  3. ^ a b "Gli zii di Enrico Letta. Non solo Gianni: c’è anche Gian Paolo Bazzoni a Porto Torres". Sardinia Post. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Winfield, Nicole (24 April 2013). "Enrico Letta Appointed Italian Prime Minister, Asked To Form Government". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Letta, Enrico (2013). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "Enrico Letta: la bio del giovane dalla grande esperienza". Huffington Post (in Italian). 24 August 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Su esecutivo marchio scuola Sant'Anna: Pisa Letta si e' specializzato, Carrozza e' stato rettore" (in Italian). ANSA. 27 April 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Profile: Enrico Letta". BBC News. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c Povoledo, Elisabetta (28 April 2013). "An Italian Leader and a Political Acrobat". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c Dinmore, Guy (24 April 2013). "Italy's Enrico Letta a party loyalist and bridge-builder". Financial Times. 
  11. ^ a b Sachelli, Orlando (24 April 2013). "Enrico Letta, il giovane Dc che deve far da paciere tra Pd e Pdl". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 7 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Pisano, milanista, baby-ministro. Ecco chi è Enrico Letta, l'eterno "giovane" del Pd". Libero (in Italian). 24 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "European Parliament Website". European Parliament. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Veltroni stravince con il 76% ma è la festa dei cittadini elettori". la Repubblica (in Italian). 14 October 2007. 
  15. ^ "Pd, Bersani indica la rotta "Noi, partito dell'alternativa"". Quotidiano.net (in Italian). 9 September 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Frye, Andrew (24 April 2013). "Letta Named Italian Prime Minister as Impasse Ends". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "Bridge-builder Enrico Letta seals Silvio Berlusconi deal". The Australian. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "New Italian 'grand coalition' government sworn in". BBC News. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Vertice lavoro, Letta ai ministri europei: «Non c'è più tempo, si deve agire subito Scelta sciagurata guardare solo i conti» – Il Messaggero. Ilmessaggero.it. Retrieved on 24 August 2013.
  20. ^ Il Decreto del fare, misura per misura – Europa Quotidiano. Europaquotidiano.it (16 June 2013). Retrieved on 24 August 2013.
  21. ^ G8, il debutto di Enrico Letta Prima l'incontro con Obama L'incognita Siria divide già – Quotidiano Net. Qn.quotidiano.net. Retrieved on 24 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Berlusconi fa dimettere ministri: è crisi. Letta: gesto folle per motivi personali". Repubblica.it. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Napolitano: "Verifico possibilità legislatura". Caos nel Pdl. Alfano: "No a estremismi"". Repubblica.it. 29 September 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  24. ^ "Irrevocabili dimissioni ministri Pdl – Politica". ANSA.it. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "Letta mercoledì a Camera e Senato – Politica". ANSA.it. 29 September 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  26. ^ Berlusconi U-turn secures Italian government survival
  27. ^ Italian PM wins confidence vote after Berlusconi abandons revolt
  28. ^ Italy crisis: PM Letta wins vote after Berlusconi U-turn
  29. ^ "Berlusconi si arrende, Letta ottiene fiducia Napolitano: "Ora basta giochi al massacro"". Repubblica.it. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  30. ^ james mackenzie (3 December 2013). "Italy PM Letta to seek new confidence vote on December 11 – World | The Star Online". Thestar.com.my. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "Napolitano accepts Letta's resignation as Italian prime minister". Euronews. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  32. ^ Lizzy Davies in Rome. "Italian PM Enrico Letta to resign | World news". theguardian.com. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  33. ^ "Правительственный кризис в Италии: премьер Летта ушел в отставку" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  34. ^ "Noi". Associazione Trecento Sessanta. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  35. ^ "Trilateral". Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  36. ^ "Comitato Esecutivo". Aspen Institute Italia. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  37. ^ "Enrico Letta Profile: Mild-Mannered AC Milan Fan who is Italy’s Next PM". International Business Times. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  38. ^ Kington, Tom (24 April 2013). "Enrico Letta to become youngest Italian prime minister in 25 years". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lamberto Dini
Minister of European Affairs
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Patrizia Toia
Preceded by
Pier Luigi Bersani
Minister of Industry
1999–2001
Succeeded by
Antonio Marzano
Preceded by
Gianni Letta
Secretary to the Council of Ministers
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Gianni Letta
Preceded by
Mario Monti
Prime Minister of Italy
2013–2014
Succeeded by
Matteo Renzi
Preceded by
Nunzia De Girolamo
Minister of Agriculture
2014
Succeeded by
Maurizio Martina
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dario Franceschini
Deputy Secretary of the Democratic Party
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Position abolished