Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018

Justice row overshadows Letta's cabinet-bonding retreat


Rome, May 13 - A huge justice row has overshadowed
Premier Enrico Letta's attempts to create harmony within his
left-right coalition government with a ministers' retreat at a
former abbey in Tuscany.
Letta and members of his centre-left Democratic Party are
furious that ministers from Silvio Berlusconi's People of
Freedom (PdL) party took part in a demonstration in Brescia on
Saturday against alleged persecution by some magistrates of the
76-year-old ex-premier.
The rally, which included the participation of Deputy
Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, was called after
a Milan court failed to overturn a four-year conviction
Berlusconi was handed for fraud at his media empire.
"Occasions like Brescia are unacceptable," Letta's
spokesman said Sunday on the first day of the retreat, which
ends later on Monday.
"They cannot be repeated because the negative effects are
greater than the government's ability to stay together.
"Letta has repeatedly said that he is not prepared to keep
the government going at any cost".
The row increased tensions within an alliance between two
parties that have long been fierce foes which were already high
following the Berlusconi's threats to sink the fledgling
executive unless it scraps a property tax called IMU and returns
revenues taken from it in 2012.
Letta has pledged to suspend June IMU payments but has not
said he will abolish the tax completely.
The PdL said there was nothing wrong with ministers taking
part in Saturday's rally.
"The PDL won't bring down its banners and hide its
identity," said Alfano's spokeswoman.
"It will remain by Berlusconi's side".
However, the coalition partners have reportedly agreed to a
truce of sorts in which ministers will not take part in
electoral rallies or televised debates not connected with their
portfolios until after local elections later this month.
Letta's government was formed in April to end two months of
deadlock after February's general election failed to produce a
clear winner.

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