Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Bersani unveils 8-point platform, says won't court M5S

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan)
Rome, March 6 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi
Bersani on Wednesday outlined the platform for "a government of
change" that he intends to present to President Giorgio
Napolitano after Italy's general election failed to a produce a
clear winner.
The platform is made up of eight "essential" points that
are broadly in line with the manifesto of the anti-establishment
5-Star Movement (M5S) of ex-comedian Beppe Grillo, who rode a
huge protest vote to become the biggest party in the House and
hold the balance of power in the Senate.
The shock result came amid widespread public disenchantment
with a political class that has been hit by a series of
corruption scandals and is seen by some as having done more to
protect its privileges than to resolve Italy's economic
ailments.
Bersani told a meeting of his Democratic Party (PD)
executive that he was not trying to "court" the M5S. Instead, he
said, he was seeking to connect with angry and disaffected
voters.
Bersani's alliance came first in the vote but it failed to
win a working majority in the Senate after ex-premier Silvio
Berlusconi's centre right came a close second and the M5S mopped
up most of the remaining seats.
Bersani has ruled out forming a government with Berlusconi.
Grillo is hostile to the established parties and has said
he will not back a government led by Bersani or Berlusconi.
Nonetheless, Bersani is hoping to persuade Grillo to soften
his stance, saying he will ask parliament to vote confidence in
the platform.
The PD executive voted in favour of Bersani's proposal.
Bersani emerged to tell reporters that "the road is narrow
but clear" and that he had "full confidence in the wisdom" of
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who is expected to hand
Bersani a government-formation mandate.
During the pre-vote debate, Bersani said he was trying to
reach out to a "disillusioned" public.
"Here we are not courting Grillo, but we are interpreting
what is moving deep down (in society) in order to break a hole
in the wall of self-referentiality of the (political) system,
which is starting to be at stake," Bersani said.
He told Grillo he must say what he wants to do to break out
of the stalemate.
"Everyone must take their responsibilities, even he who had
the support of eight million voters and who has chosen the
parliamentary path must say what he wants to do," he added,
referring to Grillo.
Bersani said he would not accept a "spurious agreement" and
said the PD would not allow itself to be used as "a target."
"The other parties do not have better offers to govern the
country. Other than ideas for blocking our road, they have
nothing to say to the country," Bersani said.
Bersani again ruled out the possibility of forming
a grand coalition Berlusconi's centre-right alliance, which he
said was "incompatible" with the PD platform.
"These points are essential for any prospective of a
government, and we are ready to open a debate after publishing
them. Our proposal is also open to suggestions," the PD chief
added.
The programme, which will be posted online and "open for
public debate", consists of the following eight points:
1. MOVES TO EXIT THE EUROZONE 'AUSTERITY CAGE' - Austerity
brought on by the eurozone crisis has only exacerbated
sovereign debt troubles and economic contraction in the affected
countries, Bersani said. So budget discipline must be balanced
with pro-growth public investment and greater flexibility in
public finances in the medium term, he said.
2. URGENT EMPLOYMENT AND SAFETY-NET MEASURES - A dozen or
so measures that include establishing a national minimum wage; a
universal system of unemployment benefits; eased budget
discipline for local governments to boost social welfare,
schools and health facilities; and paying government suppliers
billions in unpaid debts with special-purpose treasury bonds.
3. REFORMS FOR POLITICAL AND PUBLIC LIFE - Reforms aimed at
streamlining and cleaning up government, including halving the
number of parliamentarians, eliminating provincial governments,
reducing MPs' pay, slashing bureaucracy, instituting codes of
conduct for politicians and electoral-law reform.
4. A NEW LEAF ON JUSTICE AND EQUALITY - New measures to
crackdown on corruption, fraud, vote-trading, tax fraud and the
lengthening statutes of limitations.
5. REGULATING CONFLICT OF INTERESTS - Passing conflict of
interest reforms proposed by the Constitutional Affairs
Committee under the last centre-left government of ex-premier
Romano Prodi between 2006 and 2008.
6. GREEN ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - A series of
measures aimed at optimizing the waste cycle, renovating
construction to meet new energy standards, the introduction of
smart grids, and revamping abandoned structures.
7. CIVIL RIGHTS REFORM - Introducing automatic Italian
citizenship for all people born on Italian soil and civil unions
for same-sex couples under regulations similar to German law.
8. RESEARCH AND EDUCATION - Measures to tackle school
dropout rates, improve the structural safety of schools, provide
stable employment for teachers, and recruit researchers.
President Napolitano will likely hand the mandate to
Bersani around March 22, Italian pundits say.
Most political experts expect Bersani's bid to be
unsuccessful, possibly ushering in another unelected technocrat
administration like the one Mario Monti led from November 2011
to December 2012.
Monti, who did badly in the elections, is credited with
restoring Italy's credibility but worsening the recession with
his tough austerity policies.

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