Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Napolitano signs anti-sleaze decree after spending scandals

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, October 10 - Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano on Wednesday signed a decree that would cut the
number of regional councillors by 35% in response to a raft of
public-spending scandals.
In a statement, the president said his signature came in
response to a need for "urgent measures in finance and managing
local authorities".
Upon introducing the decree last week, President Mario
Monti cited widespread "dismay at incidents that undermine the
faith and reputation of the country and its credibility abroad".
Recent sleaze cases, culminating in a scandal that forced
the governor of Lazio to step down, risked defeating "the
efforts we are all making to ensure Italy's role is fully
recognised at the international level," Monti said.
According to the decree, local bodies who do not stay in
line with budgets will face central-government funding cuts of
80%.
Mayors who do not keep their accounts in order will not be
allowed to stand again, the premier said.
The pay of local and regional councillors will be cut to
the level of the best-behaved region, while stipends will be
eliminated and all local officials will have to make public, and
have certified by the Audit Court, the money they get.
The pension age of local officials will be raised from 50
to 66.
The government planned to change Article V of the
Constitution to recalibrate the way the State and regions spend
money to avoid waste, Monti says.
The tipping point in public indignation with political
corruption came last month when Franco Fiorito, caucus leader
for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party
in the Lazio region, was alleged to have skimmed off millions
of euros of public money for personal use.
The case of Fiorito, who was arrested last week, caused the
PdL's Renata Polverini to step down as governor.
The investigation is only one of a series of recent
corruption scandals that have hit various parts of Italy's
political spectrum, sparking condemnation from Italian President
Giorgio Napolitano and the Catholic Church.
Experts say the scandals have also strengthened widespread
public disaffection with the nation's political class and
contributed to the rise of comedian Beppe Grillo's grassroots
Five Star movement, which is opposed to the present party
system.
The Five Star movement is vying with the PdL for second
place in the polls, behind the runaway leader, the centre-left
Democratic Party, according to several surveys.

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