Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018

Squabbling parties faced with election of president


(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, April 3 - Italy's squabbling parties have not
been able to agree on anything since February's inconclusive
general election, but they have one unavoidable choice awaiting
them soon - the election of a new president.
The first session to elect a successor to Giorgio Napolitano
will be on April 18, the House said Wednesday.
Napolitano's seven-year term ends on May 15 and parties are
wrangling about a successor, with no agreement in sight.
Napolitano has been struggling to break Italy's
post-election stalemate after the February 24-25 elections
produced a hung parliament.
The three leading forces - Pier Luigi Bersani's Democratic
Party (PD), Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party
and Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) -
are sticking to mutually incompatible stances.
Bersani, whose coalition got a majority in the House but not
the Senate, tried to rally support for a government by proposing
policies compatible with M5S's platform but had to put the ball
back in Napolitano's court.
The president appointed 10 'wise men' to propose policies to
muster a consensus but even the experts, who will produce their
platform in just over a week, are pessimistic about their task.
The president is expected to hold fresh consultations after
the wise men propose electoral reform and moves to lift Italy
out of recession.
Bersani is still saying his 'government of change' is the
only way forward but Berlusconi wants a grand coalition Bersani
has ruled out and Grillo will not talk to either.
Some observers think new elections are on the horizon but
Napolitano cannot dissolve parliament because of Constitutional
curbs on a president's powers in the last six months of his
So that job will fall to Napolitano's successor.
Among the names touted by the media, but not by parties,
have been ex-premiers Romano Prodi and Giuliano Amato.
But both are from the centre left and would be unacceptable
to Berlusconi who has already accused the PD of trying to
"occupy" top institutional posts after electing parliament's two
Pundits say ex-Senate Speaker Franco Marino, a more moderate
centre-left figure, would be more acceptable to Berlusconi, who
has floated his long-time advisor and institutional fixer Gianni
Both Letta and Berlusconi himself, whose candidacy has been
advanced by the PdL, are unacceptable to the PD.
M5S has opened an online poll to tout candidates and has
already suggested humanitarian war-zone doctor Gino Strada.
Foreign bookies on Wednesday said Prodi and Letta were
running almost neck and neck in the 'race' for election to
Italy's highest office.
Bet2875 put the odds of Prodi becoming president at 1.65
against 1.85 for his centre-right 'rival' Letta.
Other names considered by the bookies were former
centre-left premier Massimo d'Alema at 2.00, Marini at 2.45 and
current Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso at 6.00.
Constitutional lawyer Stefano Rodota' came in at 6.50,
former House Speaker Luciano Violante at 7.00, veteran Radical
politician and former foreign trade minister Emma Bonino at 7.30
and ex-premier Giuliano Amato at 8.00.
Voting for the president will be by the 945 members of the
two houses of parliament plus regional representatives, making a
total of 1007.
A two-thirds majority is needed for the first three votes,
and then a simple majority.
Presidents, who represent national unity and have the power
to help governments form and vet laws, are usually expected to
be voted by a broad majority.
Berlusconi said Wednesday he would make a fresh push for a
cross-party elections or else a snap election, while Florence's
centre-left mayor, Matteo Renzi, seen as a future PD leader,
said Italy was "wasting time".
"We are going through a political-institutional period in
which time is being wasted, while the world is asking us to run
twice as fast" said Renzi, who is expected to challenge Bersani
if Italy returns to the polls later this year after losing a
December primary to the PD head.
"A political world that cannot run produces solutions that
it cannot put into practice," added Renzi, who was sceptical
from the start about Bersani's bid to reach out to the M5S.
"Time is up, lots of companies are on the verge of going
"What's needed is political credibility and responses on
the issues of work or we risk losing the road to get back home".

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