Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018
ROME

Letta fed up of 'ultimatums'

English
© ANSA

Rome, July 12 - Italy's centre-left Premier Enrico
Letta has said he is fed up with "ultimatums" from Silvio
Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) Party
threatening to topple the executive unless it delivers on
coveted policies like the repeal of the IMU property tax and
makes sure the former premier is not banned from politics.
"Enough of these ultimatums," Letta said after the PdL said
it would pull the plug if a tax-fraud conviction is upheld and
the three-time premier banned from office for five years next
month.
The PdL has been veering between support for the
unprecedented left-right government and threats to down it after
the supreme court brought the final appeal in the four-year tax
fraud conviction forward to July 30.
It has also raised and lowered the government threat level
linked to its banner policy pledge of abolishing IMU and
repaying last year's take.
Letta, of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), has so far
put off the issue while vowing to "supersede" IMU but several
ministers have said it would bust the budget, echoing
international bodies like the IMF.
The PD agrees with unions and business groups that lowering
labour taxes to help revive an economy in its longest recession
for over 20 years is a bigger priority than IMU.
The government also has to find the money for job-creation
schemes co-financed with the EU and approved at a summit last
week.
Italy's unemployment rate is at a record 13% while youth
unemployment is nearly 40%.
Rome won concessions to spend on projects to create jobs
while sticking to the 3% budget deficit-to-GDP ratio mandated by
euro accords.
The government has denied speculation that a supplementary
budget will be needed before the autumn for IMU reform, averting
a 1% hike in VAT, and pump-priming measures.
Berlusconi has said his legal woes - also including a
six-year conviction and life ban for paying an underage
prostitute for sex - will not affect the coalition, cobbled
together by the traditional foes after two months of stalemate
following the February general election.
Berlusconi and the PdL say he is the victim of politically
motivated prosecutors. The media magnate has announced a wave of
protests against the supreme court's alleged rush to justice.
The court says it had to table an unusual summer sitting
because one of the charges of inflating US film-rights purchases
was due to expire.
PD leader Guglielmo Epifani has accused the PdL of being
"schizophrenic" because of the wave of about-turns in its
support for the government.
In a press interview Epifani said if the PdL mood swings
continued it would be "better to abandon the alliance" .
The PD is split on whether to ratify a ban for Berlusconi,
if confirmed by the supreme court.

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