Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018

Govt threatened as Berlusconi's party, PD clash on elections


Rome, November 15 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's
People of Freedom (PdL) party on Thursday told the centre-left
Democratic Party (PD) to drop its opposition to holding three
regional elections together with next year's national vote or
risk seeing Premier Mario Monti's government collapse.
The centre-right PdL is reportedly considering withdrawing
its support from Monti's emergency technocrat administration
unless regional elections in Lazio, Lombardy and Molise are
combined with national elections next spring.
Lazio and Lombardy need early elections because their
administrations were recently scratched after PdL governors
Renata Polverini and Roberto Formigoni resigned amid corruption
scandals, while last year's election in Molise was annulled
because of voting irregularities.
The PdL, the centrist UDC and the Northern League say they
want the national and regional votes combined to save money and
prevent the next six months becoming one long election campaign.
"A lot depends on (PD Secretary Pier Luigi) Bersani," said
PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano when asked about the possibility
of his party causing a government crisis by withdrawing its
support from Monti's emergency technocrat administration.
"(It depends on) whether he wants to put a tax of 100
million euros on the shoulders of the Italian people," he added,
referring to his estimate of the extra cost of holding regional
and national elections separately.
"The government has a cabinet meeting tomorrow. We'll
evaluate the executive's decisions.
"Let's hope that the government halts this tax that Bersani
The national elections are not expected to take place until
April and the PD says elections are needed in the three regions
before then to fill a vacuum of governance.
The centre-left party also wants to vote soon to take
advantage of the lead it has in the opinion polls and it hopes
success in the regions will give it momentum for the national
On Thursday Bersani played down the danger that Monti's
government could be brought down before the end of its term
because of the row.
"I hope there won't be a government crisis and I don't
think there will be," Bersani said.
He added that the parties must overcome the current stall
in negotiations for a new election law to replace the much
criticised system in place at the moment.
"If you want to consider the hypothesis of bringing forward
the national elections, you have to proceed with changing the
electoral law and not cause controversy," Bersani said.
Curiously, the PdL fought hard when it was in power last
year to have four referenda on issues including nuclear energy
and the privatisation of water companies to be held separately
from local elections.
On that occasion the PD wanted the votes lumped together to
save public money.

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