Mercoledì, 24 Ottobre 2018

Berlusconi sees no problems with Letta over ministers


(By Paul Virgo) (see related stories on Letta)
Rome, April 26 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said
Friday that he did not think wrangles about who should hold
ministerial positions will stop a left-right executive being
formed to end two months of deadlock in Italy after February's
inconclusive general election.
Enrico Letta of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) is
expected to present a cabinet of 18 ministers this weekend after
being given a mandate to form a new government by President
Giorgio Napolitano on Wednesday.
Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party,
the division-hit PD and outgoing Premier Mario Monti's Civic
Choice group have said they are willing to support a broad
coalition government.
The administration tasked with passing urgent economic
measures for the recession-hit economy and a new electoral law
to replace the one that failed to produce a winner in February
is likely to face confidence votes in parliament Monday and
But there have been fears Letta's bid to set up an
administration could flounder over ministerial nominations.
Many in the PD, for example, have howled disapproval
following speculation that the PdL wants its House whip, former
civil service minister Renato Brunetta, to be a minister in
Letta's cabinet.
Brunetta has been at the centre of some of the most bitter
rows between the PD and the PdL in the recent years.
Objections have also been raised following talk that former
centre-left premier Massimo D'Alema could be Letta's foreign
D'Alema has denied links he was involved in internal PD
revolts that sank two of the party's own candidates to become
Italy's president and led to the resignation of party secretary
Pier Luigi Bersani.
But three-time premier Berlusconi is optimistic.
The 76-year-old said Friday there were "no real problems"
facing Letta.
"We can't expect a 100% deal but my people were very
encouraged (in meetings with Letta). There aren't any knots to
be untied," he said, adding that he would not serve as a
"If I had been needed I would have been available but I
prefer it this way,"
He said newly re-elected President Giorgio Napolitano
expected "the new generation and a significant presence of
women" in the cabinet.
The new government's policies may be more of the problem
than the ministers though.
Brunetta said Friday that scrapping and refunding an
unpopular property tax called IMU - one of Berlusconi's election
pledges - was a fundamental condition for the centre-right's
participation in a grand coalition government.
The PD has said it would ease IMU for the worse-off but has
said scrapping the tax saying it would wreck the budget.
IMU was instituted among a series of austerity measures
under Monti's technocrat government to help mend public accounts
and face down sovereign-debt crisis last year.

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