Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018

Berlusconi, IMU rows threaten government


By Christopher Livesay and Kate Carlisle
Rome, August 26 - The ongoing row between the
members of Italy's fragile left-right coalition over the
controversial property tax known as IMU continues to threaten
the country's stability and on Monday caused the Milan bourse to
plunge 2% in early trading over fears of a government collapse.
Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of
Freedom (PdL) party repeated that it would pull the plug on the
country's delicate political formation by withdrawing their
support "if the (center left) does not agree to cancel IMU on
all primary residences," PdL deputy Senate whip Maurizio
Gasparri said.
"For us the government has exhausted its mission,"
Gasparri said.
Over the weekend bigwigs from the center right met at
Berlusconi's Arcore residence outside Milan to discuss, among
other things, a meeting Wednesday in the divided right-left
cabinet to decide the fate of the tax.
Berlusconi campaigned hard against it in February
elections, where he roared to second, ultimately forcing the
uncomfortable alliance with the first-place center-left
Democratic Party (PD).
The PdL has repeatedly threatened to pull its support and
topple the government if IMU is not abolished, something Economy
Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni says the country cannot afford.
"We have the resources, enough waffling," countered PdL
Lower House whip Renato Brunetta.
"I'm sure (Premier Enrico) Letta will make the right
decision. I trust him. Following the PdL powwow, Letta said
creating a crisis of government over the tax would be "foolish".
The issue of IMU has added to Letta's woes surrounding the
conviction of Berlusconi early this month for tax fraud, his
first ever binding sentence in almost 20 years of legal
While some observers say that Berlusconi may be resigned
to accepting a one-year term under house arrest or performing
community service as part of the supreme Cassation Court's
ruling, the PdL says it cannot tolerate working in the same
government with the PD if it votes next month in the Senate to
uphold a ban from office for the three-time premier, stripping
him of his seat in the Upper House.
Letta called a snap meeting Monday with core members of
his fragile coalition to discuss IMU and the ramifications of
the ex-premier's possible ouster from the Senate.
Joining Letta were Deputy Premier Angelino Alfano, PdL
No.2, as well as Saccomanni and Regional Affairs Minister
Graziano Delrio.
Government sources said the meeting centered around what
should be done to keep the coalition's glue from dissolving over
the IMU, which the cabinet is scheduled to rule on once and for
all on Wednesday.

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