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Home English Italy doesn't need govt to usher in change, says Grillo

Italy doesn't need govt to usher in change, says Grillo


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, March 28 - Beppe Grillo, the leader of the
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) that holds the balance
of power in parliament after last month's inconclusive general
election, said Thursday that Italy does not need a new
government to pass key reforms.
Grillo had rejected centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani's
appeals for the M5S to break the political deadlock and join a
Bersani-led 'government of change' working on an eight-point
programme based on many of his movement's proposed policies.
Bersani said Grillo, who had hit the centre-left leader
with a series of insults, is wasting a golden opportunity to
usher in sweeping changes to a political and economic system
that has shown massive limits in the last two decades.
But comedian-turned-politician Grillo says parliament can
still pass measures even if it can't agree on a new executive to
replace outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat
"Parliament is sovereign, or at least it should be," Grillo
said on his popular blog, which gave life to the Internet-based
M5S in 2009.
"A government is not necessary for a new election law or to
launch urgent measures for small and medium-sized companies or
to scrap the (nation's) provincial governments," added Grillo.
"Parliament can discuss these issues and approve measures,
if only it wanted to, as of tomorrow.
"The idea that is given is that, without a government, the
country is immobile, frozen, at the mercy of the (bond) spread
and of the (rating) agencies, but there is silence about the
fact that laws for reforms can be discussed and approved without
a government being in power".
Grillo, 64, has sworn never to support a government led by
the established parties, which he says are responsible for a
corrupt, malfunctioning political system.
He pointed out that it was not true that Italy was totally
without a government as outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency
technocrat administration remained in power to handle everyday
affairs for the time being.
Renato Brunetta, the whip for ex-premier Silvio
Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party in the House, mocked
Grillo's comments, saying he was trying to become a modern
version of 18th-century French political thinker Montesquieu.
"Grillo has abolished the government. Parliament is
enough," Brunetta said.
"And thus the new Montesquieu, Beppe Grillo, has
established that one of the three branches of power, the
executive, can be abolished without any problems.
"Not only the Italian Constitution, but the idea of the
State itself, has been reformed by the genius of the blog,
without the need for a referendum or a vote".
In the blog entry, Grillo also rejected claims that his
refusal to back a centre-left government was effectively helping
Berlusconi continue to be a lead player on the Italian political
Grillo said Bersani's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and
the M5S could pass measures in parliament that would push
Berlusconi out of politics even without a government.
He cited several examples.
These include the application of an existing ineligibility
law that bans people with government concessions, such as the
operation of TV networks, from holding office and a
conflict-of-interest law that would force the 76-year-old media
magnate to choose between keeping his business empire or
continuing his political career.
"It has been emphasised in recent days that the lack of an
agreement with the PD, Berlusconi's best friend, would stop the
latter being removed from the political scene," Grillo said.
"If that's the case, I invite the so-called opposition (to
Berlusconi) to vote in parliament for Berlusconi's
ineligibility, for the approval of a conflict-of-interest law".

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