Mercoledì, 24 Ottobre 2018

Skepticism about president's 10 'wise men'


Rome, March 31 - Two of the three main groups in
parliament on Sunday expressed skepticism about the chances of
success of a group of 10 "wise men" appointed by President
Giorgio Napolitano to tackle the political deadlock that has
gripped Italy since last month's inconclusive general election.
Napolitano asked the experts to draft a programme of
reforms for a government that would be able to win cross-party
backing, after conceding on Saturday that the three groups were
"frozen between irreconcilable stances".
Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani
centre-left's alliance, which came first in the election but
failed to win a working majority in the Senate, has pledged to
give full backing to the initiative.
But ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition,
which came a close second and has seen its calls for a grand
coalition rejected by Bersani, is cool on the idea.
Fabrizio Cicchitto, a senior MP for Berlusconi's People of
Freedom (PdL) party, said it would give the wise men "seven to
10 days" to see if they were able to draft a programme for
government it can support.
But Renato Brunetta, a former civil service minister and
the PdL's House whip, is not optimistic.
"The elections indicated that an agreement between the PdL
and the PD is the only possible way to have a government," said
"I don't think that this initiative (by Napolitano) will
change the facts of the problem".
Berlusconi has said that if it is not possible for the
parties to find an agreement on a government it would be better
to have new elections rather than have another technocrat
administration like outgoing Premier Mario Monti's emergency
Meanwhile, Beppe Grillo, the leader of the 5-Star Movement
(M5S) that holds the balance of power in parliament after
capturing a huge protest vote last month, blasted the experts as
"unreal negotiators" and "carers of democracy".
The comedian-turned-politician also reiterated his position
that Italy did not need to be in a rush to have a new
He says parliament can pass key reforms, such as a new
election law to replace the much-criticised one that failed to
produce a winner last month, while outgoing Premier Mario
Monti's technocrat administration continues to take care of
everyday government business.
"The country does not need unreal negotiators or
facilitators... who work as groups of wise men," Grillo said via
his popular blog, which gave life to the Internet-based M5S in
"It does not need 'carers of democracy', but it does need
to make parliament work better and quick".
Grillo said that in order to do this, the newly elected
parliament needed to focus on setting up its new committees.
The impasse has come about to a large degree because Grillo
has knocked back Bersani's attempts to win over the M5S with a
programme that is in tune with many the movement's proposal
policies. Grillo has responded with insults that have included
calling Bersani a "dead man talking".
The M5S has said it will never vote confidence in a
government led by the established parties, which it blames for
creating a corrupt, malfunctioning political system that has
failed to address Italy's economic and social ills.
The M5S's solution to the deadlock is for the other parties
to back a government led by it.
The president's panel is made up of five senior
institutional figures - Enrico Giovannini, the head of
statistics agency ISTAT, European Affairs Minister Enzo Moavero
Milanesi, Bank of Italy board member Salvatore Rossi,
Constitutional Court President Valerio Onida and Competition
Authority head Giovanni Pitruzzella.
The others come from political parties.
They are former House speaker Luciano Violante of the
centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Senator Gaetano Quagliariello
of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party,
Mario Mauro of outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic Choice
group, Northern League MP Giancarlo Giorgetti and Filippo
Bubbico, a PD Senator.
The head of state stressed on Saturday that he would serve
until the end of his term on May 15.
There had been speculation Napolitano would step down, due
to constitutional provisions that limit his powers in his final
months of office and prevent him dissolving parliament, in order
to enable his successor to call snap elections to end an
impasse, amid fears Italy could be plunged back into financial

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