Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Letta's govt in for another confidence test

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, July 23 - Premier Enrico Letta's fragile
left-right government is in for another major test after it
announced Tuesday it was putting its 'to do' decree of urgent
moves to help revive the recession-hit Italian economy to a
confidence vote in the Lower House.
Relations with Parliament Minister Dario Franceschini said
a confidence vote was necessary to speed the measure through
parliament after hundreds of amendments were presented.
As a decree, the legislation is already law but it needs to
be ratified within two months of being passed by the cabinet to
stay in effect.
The confidence vote will take place at 11:30 Italian time
on Wednesday.
Letta's executive, which us made up of Letta's centre-right
Democratic Party (PD) and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's
centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, will collapse if it
fails to win the confidence vote.
The PD and the PdL were long-standing bitter rivals until
they decided to work together to form a government in April
after two months of deadlock following February's general
election.
"Parliament has a complicated schedule before the summer
recess," said Franceschini.
"If we tackle a vote with 800 amendments to the decree, we
won't have time to do everything".
The decree frees up around three billion euros for public
works projects this year, which should create 30,000 temporary
construction jobs.
The measure also cuts energy bills by a total of 550
million euros, in part by slashing a tax to finance renewable
energy initiatives.
Opposition parties blasted the decision to put the decree
to a confidence vote.
Ciccio Ferrara of the left-wing SEL party said the
government was making this move to impose discipline and "hide
the cracks" in the governing coalition.
Riccardo Fraccaro, an MP for the anti-establishment 5-Star
Movement (M5S), said the confidence vote was the "umpteenth slap
against parliament" as it limits debate of the legislation.
M5S leader Beppe Grillo called Letta "Captain Findus" and
accused him of wanting a "government dictatorship".
Last month Letta's administration passed its first
confidence-vote test in parliament when a decree on
environmental emergencies was overwhelming approved by the Lower
House.
Letta also considered as a confidence vote Friday's
rejection by the Senate of a no-confidence motion in Deputy
Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano over the
controversial expulsion of the wife and daughter of a Kazakh
dissident.
Alfano is the PdL secretary and Berlusconi's party would
probably have pulled the plug on the government if the motion
had been approved.
The government is also threatened by differences over
policy between the PD and the PdL and there is a danger that
Berlusconi's party will sink the government if Italy's supreme
Court of Cassation upholds a four-year fraud sentence against
the ex-premier.
Letta, meanwhile vowed on Tuesday that his government would
press ahead with another bill facing a tough passage through
parliament - his plan to phase out public funding for political
parties.
"We won't take steps back on the abolition of public
financing of parties," Letta said via his Twitter account,
@EnricoLetta, after over 150 amendments were presented to the
bill.
"The bill we presented is a good reform. Why block it?".
If the bill is approved, party funding will be reduced to
60% of its current level in the first year, 50% in the second
year 50% and 40% in the third year before being abolished
altogether.
The issue of party funding is high up on the political
agenda in part thanks to the M5S, which won about a quarter of
the vote in February's elections and refuses to accept public
financing of any kind.
Comedian-turned-politician Grillo tapped into widespread
public disenchantment as he berated the misuse of public money
following a series of corruption scandals involving parties
across the political spectrum.
The M5S called the government's bill a "moral victory" but
also dubbed it a "scam law" for a mechanism it contains that
enables people to donate a small slice of their taxes to
parties.
As part of this, an individual taxpayer's money will be
split among parties automatically unless the person explicitly
declares on their tax return that it should not go to a
political party.
As the bill stands, the money would be divided
proportionally among all parties.

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