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Published: Wednesday June 18, 2014 MYT 3:21:05 AM
Updated: Wednesday June 18, 2014 MYT 3:22:23 AM

Rebel Italian senators from Renzi's party end protest over reforms

ROME (Reuters) - A group of rebel senators in Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (PD), who staged a revolt over plans to drastically reduce the powers of the upper house, have dropped their protest, one of the group said on Tuesday.

Following a meeting with party leaders, the 14 senators agreed to end a revolt which could potentially have threatened the government's majority in the upper house.

"Our protest is ending but we will propose amendments in the chamber peacefully," Paolo Corsini, one of the senators, told Reuters.

The 14 PD senators withdrew their backing from the government last week, saying they were "suspending themselves" in a protest against planned constitutional reforms that would remove the Senate's law-making powers.

The changes, aimed at transforming the upper house into a regional chamber of mayors and town councillors, are planned as part of a wider reform of the electoral system, aimed at reducing government deadlock and eliminating waste.

Although there was no threat to the stability of the government, the protest could have caused serious difficulties if it had continued because of Renzi's thin majority in the upper house.

The end to the protest came on the same day that the government won a vote of confidence in parliament that clears the way to definitive approval of one of Renzi's headline policies, an income tax break for some 10 million lower-paid workers.

(Reporting by Roberto Landucci; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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