Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018

Centre left weighs aftermath of banning Berlusconi


(By Emily Backus and Christopher Livesay)
Rome, August 23 - Pivotal voices within Italy's
centre left laid groundwork Friday for life after a possible
fall of Italy's teetering left-right coalition government as the
Democratic Party (PD) made it clear that banning centre-right
leader Silvio Berlusconi from the Senate in a vote next month
was non-negotiable.
An Italian MP and candidate for leadership of the PD told
the newspaper La Repubblica in an interview published Friday
that the party, which holds a majority in the Senate, will throw
Berlusconi from office in a September 9 vote even if it means
the end of the fragile coalition led by Premier Enrico Letta,
also of the PD.
"We are not in the government at any cost. In this match we
are playing with our souls," said Gianni Cuperlo.
Removing Berlusconi from public office "is a necessary act,
a given. The right must understand that we cannot retreat by
even a millimetre, because our concept of democracy is at
Meanwhile, the historic center-left politician and
ex-premier Massimo D'Alema said that the current government was
fleeting from its conception, and said the PD's future looks far
brighter than that of the centre right if the latter continues
to stake its future on Berlusconi's judicial treatment.
Speaking from PD festivities in the central Italian town of
Narni on Thursday, D'Alema said, "Letta is only a transitional
leader for a temporary government with a limited programme. He
will not be useful a second time. In the future I imagine Gianni
Cuperlo as the party secretary and (Florence Mayor) Matteo Renzi
as premier".
Renzi is a rising star on the conservative spectrum of the
PD, and is considered by many to be an independent voice within
the centre left.
D'Alema denied that the current schism in the shaky
left-right government poses any problem from the PD's
"In the end, there will not be any crisis. If the
centre-right thinks of tying its own future to Berlusconi's
judicial destiny, it will have to resign itself to decline
without return," said D'Alema.
Letta met President Giorgio Napolitano Thursday in a
last-ditch bid to avert government crisis, as the PD shunned
appeals from Berlusconi's party to refrain from voting the media
mogul out of the Senate on September 9 as a consequence of his
August 1 conviction for tax fraud, his first definitive sentence
in almost 20 years of battles with a judiciary he claims is
Berlusconi is insisting he must be allowed to continue as
PdL leader and can only do that as a Senator.
Otherwise, the PdL will pull the plug on the four-month-old
administration Napolitano forced into existence after a
two-month post-election impasse earlier this year.
In February's parliamentary elections, the centre left
barely beat the centre right with nearly equal shares of the
vote - roughly 30% each - while comedian Beppe Grillo's
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) won a quarter of the
The PD tried repeatedly to team up with the M5S, but Grillo
refused, forcing historic political enemies to join forces to
create a majority coalition.
D'Alema on Thursday said the right stood more to lose than
the left should the government fall.
"If (the right) want to go to elections, we're ready. But I
don't believe (they do). Berlusconi knows that we are 15 points
ahead of him with Renzi as leader," D'Alema said, adding that
Berlusconi could continue his political career as a charismatic
outsider, without any public office or official position.
The remark was a nod to Grillo, who cannot serve in office
due to a vehicular-manslaughter conviction, yet wields
significant control over elected lawmakers in his party.

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