Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018
ROME

M5S says no Speakers deal, Bersani still open to talks

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, March 14 - Comedian Beppe Grillo's
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement said Thursday it would not
make a deal with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) on
parliamentary Speakers to be voted in on Friday but PD leader
Pier Luigi Bersani said he was still open to talks.
Bersani's coalition came first in last month's elections but
failed to win a majority in the Senate where Bersani has been
hoping for M5S support to form a government.
But so far Grillo, who has derided Bersani as "a dead man
talking", has ruled out having any truck with the PD, which he
equates with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People
of Freedom (PdL) party as bulwarks of a corrupt system.
Grillo's anti-euro, anti-corruption and Green message
brought him a huge protest vote, making the M5S the single
biggest party in the House with more than a quarter of the
votes.
It is currently polling even higher, at about 30%.
Ahead of Friday's vote on the Speakerships, the M5S said it
would "present our own candidates, and vote for them without
outside influence".
M5S Senate caucus leader Vito Crimi said: "we are not
prepared to stoop to any compromise.
"We will choose the candidates from a pre-selection sample
and we will communicate (their names) to citizens and the other
political forces.
"It (the Speakership) will never be a trading chip or a
possible way of exerting pressure towards us".
Bersani, who has kept his cool and left the door open in
the face of a wave of insults from Grillo, said the PD was
"ready to start dialogue, right up till the last minute".
"These issues require shared decisions," said the PD
leader, who is expected to receive a formal government-formation
mandate from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, although many
see that as doomed to fail.
But late Thursday he said that, given that all overtures
had so far been rebuffed, the PD would abstain in the first vote
to "continue working towards a deal".
One possible future scenario is another election this
summer with Bersani possibly replaced by the younger, more
media-savvy and centrist mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, who
has a broader appeal.
Renzi has publicly stressed he is a team player and is
behind Bersani's efforts.
But unidentified sources in Renzi's camp said the mayor,
seen as able to win voters from both Grillo and Berlusconi, was
"revving his engines in case he has to take to the track".
Grillo on Thursday issued a fresh blast at the PD,
challenging it to give the funding it received for the general
election to charity, as the M5S has.
"It's possible to conduct politics without resorting to
public funds," said Grillo, recalling that Italians voted
against political funding in a referendum in 2000.
Bersani, who has issued an eight-point platform reflecting
most of the M5S's policies, says he wants to trim funding but
not eliminate it completely because that would open the way for
US-style money politics where cash-rich lobbies dictate
policies.
Bersani also blasted Grillo's claim Wednesday in an
interview with German daily Handeslblatt, that Italy was
"already out of the euro".
Such statements, the PD leader said, could produce
"disasters of cosmic proportions".
A two-third majority is needed in the first three votes for
the Speakerships.
After that, a simple majority suffices.
Pundits say that the current deadlock could mean the voting
will run past Friday into the weekend or even Monday.

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