Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018

Bersani sticks to guns despite flak from friend and foe


(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, April 8 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi
Bersani is sticking to his guns about Italy's need for a
politically viable government able to tackle Italy's economic
and social woes despite flak from friend and foe alike.
Bersani's apparent determination to bid for a minority
government, shrugging off alliance offers from ex-premier Silvio
Berlusconi, has brought criticism from his opponents and many
media commentators as well as causing friction within his
Democratic Party (PD).
PD rising star and touted future leader Matteo Renzi has
accused Italian parties of "time-wasting" while the country
Even the veteran pro-PD founder and editorialist of
left-leaning daily La Repubblica, Eugenio Scalfari, scolded
Bersani for his apparent obstinacy in a leader comment Sunday,
saying that bid was "evidently exhausted".
In reply Monday, Bersani wrote to La Repubblica saying
Italy needs a stable government able to respond quickly to its
economic crisis, rather than a body that is constantly focused
on its own survival.
"Our country is really in trouble," Bersani said in the
He condemned the continued uncertainty around Italy's
future government as taking a cruel toll on economic prospects
but repeated his disdain for a coalition with the centre-right
led by Berlusconi.
"They multiply the conditions of extreme malaise and worsen
a radical drop in confidence," said Bersani in his letter.
"We want a government, of course. But a government that can
act the common life of the citizens.
"Not a government that lives in acrobatics".
But working in partnership with Berlusconi's People of
Freedom (PdL) is an option favoured by a growing number
Bersani's PD, and not just Renzi.
The PD is obliged to team up with the media
magnate-turned-politician, they say, because it won a majority
in the lower house of parliament in late-February elections but
failed to win a majority in the equally powerful Senate.
Bersani argues that he can gamble on securing a Senate
confidence vote for a minority 'government of change' with
policies gauged to appeal to comedian Beppe Grillo's
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement - despite Grillo's blanket
refusal to deal with either the PD or PdL, which he damns as
equal culprits in a malfunctioning system that has delivered
debt, corruption and recession.
The latest PD figure to come out in favour of a right-left
coalition was Dario Franceschini, former leader of the more
centrist Daisy party that formed the PD with the ex-Communist
Democratic Left in 2007.
"I really can't see any alternative," Franceschini told
The PD will try to win more public support next Saturday
with an anti-poverty rally announced Monday.
Meanwhile, despite reports that Berlusconi was cooling to
the alliance idea, the PdL maintained Monday that Bersani
"desperately" needs the centre-right's support to tackle Italy's
economic woes.
"The priority for the PdL is to help Italy to exit quickly
from the crisis by supporting businesses and families," by
working with Bersani, said Barbara Saltamartini, a member of the
PdL national directorate.
Senior PdL figures over the weekend slammed Bersani's
"overweening pride" in allegedly putting personal ambition
before the country's needs.
Bersani denied such claims in the La Repubblica letter,
reiterating that he was "always ready" to stand aside if a more
accommodating figure emerged.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano appointed 10 'wise
men' to propose possible consensus policies including a
much-needed electoral reform after a first government-formation
bid by Bersani flopped 10 days ago.
The two panels of institutional and political-economic
experts are likely to produce their proposals Thursday, sources
close to the panels said Monday.
But even the head of the institutional reform panel,
Constitutional Court chief Valerio Onida, has come out publicly
as saying their work is just a diversion and there is no
plausible way out of the post-election stalemate.
Onida was forced to apologise after falling victim to a
prank radio phone call and candidly voicing his deep skepticism
about the utility of the wise men's work.
A successor to Napolitano, due to be named by mid-May, may
well dissolve parliament and call another snap vote, pundits
say, despite Napolitano's best efforts to avoid this.
Prolonged political stability is being closely watched by
the financial markets, ever ready to pounce, and Italy's
eurozone partners who are worried about any further pressure on
the bloc after the recent Cyprus banking crisis.

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