Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Letta executive passes first confidence test

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, June 21 - The government passed its first
confidence-vote test in parliament on Friday when a decree on
environmental emergencies was approved by the Lower House with
383 votes in favour and 154 against.
It was the first time Premier Enrico Letta's left-right
government used a confidence vote to speed up a measure's
passage through parliament since it was installed late April
after the two months of political stalemate that followed
inconclusive general elections in February.
If the decree, which featured funding for regions hit by
earthquakes last year, had failed to win the vote, Letta's
government would have fallen.
Relations with Parliament Minister Dario Franceschini said
the government decided to call a confidence vote "with regret"
as this procedure cuts out parliament's ability to scrutinize
legislation and pass amendments.
But he said it was necessary, with obstructionism expected
from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S).
Letta's government is seen as shaky as his centre-left
Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi's centre-right People of
Freedom (PdL) party have been almost constantly bickering about
several policy issues since the traditional bitter rivals joined
forces.
The situation has been made even more delicate by
Berlusconi's legal troubles.
Senior PdL officials have said the party's lawmakers will
quit if a four-year conviction for tax fraud at Berlusconi's
media empire is confirmed along with a five-year ban from public
office.
Both Letta and Berlusconi said the government was not in
danger after the three-time premier failed in a bid this week to
get the Constitutional Court to strike down the fraud
conviction.
But Berlusconi also called the ruling the latest example of
a "20-year attempt to eliminate me from political life," a
charge he has made repeatedly when judges have ruled against
him, often alleging a leftist plot.
On Monday a Milan court is set to give its verdict in a
trial into allegations Berlusconi, 76, paid for sex with an
underage prostitute and abused his power to try to cover up the
affair.
The ex-premier is also appealing a one-year term for
involvement in the publication of an illegally obtained wiretap
and facing indictment for allegedly buying Senators to topple a
centre-left government.
Letta tried to ease the tension on Friday when he said
Berlusconi's public statements had been "proper and
collaborative" after the Constitutional Court's decision, though
he added: "I imagine he's upset".
Letta is seen as a PD moderate and is respected by the
centre right, in part thanks to his uncle Gianni Letta,
Berlusconi's longtime right-hand man.
That relationship has been the subject of suspicion from
many of Berlusconi's detractors, such as Beppe Grillo, the
leader of the M5S, which opposes Letta's administration.
On Friday Grillo called Letta "the most insignificant
premier since the end of World War II," and said that the only
thing left to see was the premier "kissing the behind of
Berlusconi to survive as long as possible".
While he directs his fire at Letta,
comedian-turned-politician Grillo is also still facing dissent
within his own movement, which captured around a quarter of the
vote in the general election.
Senator Paola De Pin said Friday she was leaving the M5S in
solidarity with another Senate member, Adele Gambaro, who was
ejected this week.
"After much painful reflection, I announce my exit from the
5-Star Movement," said De Pin, voicing her "full solidarity with
Adele Gambaro" and disapproval of her "pillory before the
media".
On Wednesday the party rank and file voted online to eject
Gambaro for criticizing Grillo, calling him "a problem for the
movement" after the bloc's poor showing at local elections
across Italy.
Her defection is the first since Gambaro was expelled, to
the opposition of a significant number of M5S Senators and MPs.
Many believe that a party schism is imminent.

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