Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018

Letta hopeful of stability but won't stay at all costs


(By Paul Virgo) (see related wrap on Berlusconi)
Rome, August 2 - Premier Enrico Letta said Friday
that it would be a "crime" if his left-right government
collapsed and he was hopeful of stability after the supreme
court upheld a tax-fraud conviction against Silvio Berlusconi.
But Letta, who has only been at the head of government for
just over three months, also warned that he will not continue at
the helm of government "at all costs" if the turmoil becomes too
much after Silvio Berlusconi's tax-fraud conviction was upheld.
The already fragile government is seen as in greater peril
after the ruling, which makes Berlusconi ineligible to run in
future elections.
Letta told a news conference that he was hopeful the
"interests of the country will prevail" but admitted it is a
"delicate moment" for Italy.
"It would be a crime not to keep going, to stop in the
worst way, because the government's work is starting to bear
fruit," Letta told a meeting of the small centrist Civic Choice
party of his predecessor Mario Monti, which supports his
administration, later on Friday.
"The results are within reach and we can already touch
Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL)
government has so far said it will keep backing the executive
and so has Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
But the strained alliance between traditional foes is under
huge pressure, with PdL MPs rallying around Berlusconi while
many PD lawmakers enthusiastically stress that their party
should vote to have Berlusconi stripped of his status as
Letta said that political instability is the last thing
Italy needs.
The country is still battling to emerge from its longest
recession in over two decades and it flirted with a Greek-style
meltdown less than two years ago, when Berlusconi was forced to
step down as premier at the height to the eurozone crisis to
make way for Monti's emergency technocrat administration.
"The stability of the government is fundamental, including
at the international level, as it's one of the main factors to
attract foreign investment," said Letta, whose government took
power in April to end two months of political deadlock after
February's inconclusive general election.
One factor working in Letta's favour is that the parties
are aware that, if the government collapses and they return to
the polls, the outcome is likely to be the similar to February's
inconclusive result.
This is because of a much-criticised election law that
makes it hard for coalitions to win working majorities in both
the Lower House and the Senate.
If anything, a chaotic end to Letta's government and snap
elections could favour the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement,
which won around a quarter of the vote in February, coming a
close third behind the coalitions led by the PD, the biggest
group in parliament, and the PdL.

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