Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018

Berlusconi declares Italian 'civil war' over


(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, June 5 - Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday said
Italy's unprecedented new left-right government had ended the
political strife that has split Italy in two since he entered
the fray in 1994.
Three-time premier Berlusconi said Premier Enrico Letta's
administration was "strong" because the seemingly unnatural
alliance between his People of Freedom (PdL) party and Letta's
centre-left Democratic Party (PD) agreement marked the end of
two decades of a "long cold war, a civil war".
Berlusconi, who was the prime mover behind a deal to bury
the hatchet with his old foes after February's inconclusive
general election, stressed the government must focus on reforms
to make Italy easier to govern, including changes to the
much-criticised electoral law and a new set-up in which getting
laws through parliament would be less arduous.
He said these reforms should include changes that would
make the Italian president directly elected by the people,
rather than voted in by regional representatives and lawmakers
of the Lower House and the Senate.
"It's important that both sides support the government and
that it can pass a reform of the Constitution that can bring
direct elections to the head of state," Berlusconi told T9, a
Rome-based local TV channel.
The centre-right touchstone and media magnate is thought to
hold ambitions of becoming president.
The PD is divided over whether having a president elected
by the people is a good idea, with some fearing a charismatic
leader like Berlusconi or anti-establishment
comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, who scored heavily in
the general election but is boycotting the old parties, might
ride roughshod over parliament.
Letta on Tuesday named a 35-strong panel of experts
representing a broad spectrum of political views to advise on
Constitutional reforms, which he has said will take 18 months to
Berlusconi also said Letta should not to let Italy get
pushed around by the European Union.
"What we need is for this government to go to Brussels and
I say 'I'm doing things this way'. We can no longer accept
certain diktats," former premier Berlusconi told T9, a
Rome-based local TV channel.
"We are the ones who have to decide what is necessary to
put our economy back on its feet".
In the campaign for February's general election, Berlusconi
blasted Letta's predecessor Mario Monti for allegedly being too
compliant to the EU in pushing through austerity policies that
eased investor concerns about Italy's debt crisis, but also
deepened the long recession the country is currently enduring.
Letta's government was formed in April to end two months of
deadlock after February's vote produced no clear winner.
The administration looks unsteady and may be short-lived as
PdL and PD politicians continuously bicker over a range of
issues including Berlusconi's banner campaign pledge to scrap an
unpopular property tax and give back last year's proceeds.
Berlusconi went on to tell another Rome station,
TeleRoma56, that he had been able to maintain focus on his
political duties despite his much-publicised legal woes.
"Despite everything that was thrown on me in the legal
field, we have kept the rudder straight supporting this
government," he said.
Berlusconi, who is embroiled in a number of legal cases,
has long argued that he is the victim of allegedly left-wing
prosecutors and judges who he says are persecuting him for
political reasons.
He is currently on trial on charges that he paid for sex
with an underage prostitute and abused his office to try to
cover up the affair.
He is also appealing a four-year conviction for fraud at
his media empire and a one-year sentence for publishing an
illegally obtained wiretap.
The three-time premier also faces indictment for allegedly
buying a Senator to help topple a previous centre-left

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