Rome, Nov 1 - The head of Italian luxury sportscar maker Ferrari called on embattled Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to resign and make way for a caretaker government, or risk creating irreversible damage to the eurozone's third richest country.
'There isn't a minute to lose,' said Luca di Montezemolo, the Ferrari chairman who is considered a possible political contender, in a letter to left-leaning daily la Repubblica. 'The savings of the Italians, the social fabric and the durability of Italy in the euro are all in play.'
After pressure from European Union partners, Berlusconi's government last week sent a letter of intent to the EU outlining in vague terms plans to reduce debt and increase growth. The letter pledged to make the job market more flexible by removing obstacles for companies to fire workers, and to sell company assets.
Critics say Berlusconi, 75, is harming the country by staying in office. They claim he is distracted by three trials and is unable to spark growth in the sluggish economy. Berlusconi says he is going nowhere, countering that his court cases are a tactic by a left-wing magistrate intent on overthrowing him, and that it would be foolish to change governments during a time of financial crisis.
Berlusconi in September passed measures to trim 54 billion euros in spending and balance the budget in 2013. Investors, analysts and the EU are worried that Italy's 1.9 trillion euro debt load could be unmanageable, raising the possibility of default, and thus putting the future of the euro currency at risk.
Montezemolo has announced plans to create a political party but is often ridiculed for speaking in platitudes about the need for change without offering any solutions.
His letter provides a five-point platform including cutting government costs, and making the wealthy pay more taxes.
The Ferrari chairman called for a technical government, saying early elections - Berlusconi's five-year term expires in 2013 - would be a mistake because the opposition is largely un-unified and has laid out no alternative solutions to Berlusconi.
'Elections are not a solution. They would paralyse the country,' he said.
He said the ideas expressed in the government's letter to the EU unfairly hurt the working class and would create a split in the country.