Venerdì, 19 Aprile 2019
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Dissidents in PdL meet to discuss new party


Rome, October 2 - Having helped to save Italy's
fragile coalition government Wednesday afternoon, dissidents
from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL)
party turned their attention to their own futures and whether to
form their own breakaway organization in the Italian parliament.
A meeting called for Wednesday night among the PdL
dissidents was expected to debate creating new groups in the
Senate and House – the subject of much discussion in recent days
as it became clear PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano had shifted
from his ultra-loyalty to Berlusconi and disapproved of moves to
bring down Premier Enrico Letta's government.
Alfano, who has been serving as deputy premier and interior
minister in the coalition cabinet, has been rumoured to be a
potential leader of the dissident group after he encouraged the
resounding confidence vote that saved Letta's coalition.
However, Alfano was quiet Wednesday after the vote, leaving
other PdL senior officials to comment on planning for a new
political group.
"The group will be independent," said Roberto Formigoni, a
PdL Senator and supporter of a new movement.
But others were playing down the prospect.
Gaetano Quagliariello, another PdL senator and Letta's
constitutional affairs minister, said he knew nothing about such
a plan.
"It's an initiative of parliamentarians I do not know," he
said flatly.
And Nunzia De Girolamo, agriculture minister, was even less
"I remain in the PdL," she told reporters, stating she had
no intention of joining any splinter group.
PdL Senate Whip Renato Schifani told reporters that he is
"firmly opposed to a diaspora" in his party.
And similar Berlusconi loyalists were moving quickly
Wednesday to sign a document confirming their support for the
PdL and a revamped Forza Italia party, the media tycoon's first
party which he relaunched for the next elections last week.
This increased speculation the PdL could break in two, with
a bigger and more hardline force, Forza Italia, led by
Berlusconi, and a smaller and more moderate one, headed by
Alfano under the PdL banner, seen as more in touch with the
European People's Party (EPP), the centre-right bloc the PdL
belongs to in the European Parliament.
There has been talk that about 30 PdL senators could break
away and form a group with tighter links to the EPP, some of
whose members have fretted about Berlusconi's presence.
The dissidents within the PdL have been unhappy with
Berlusconi's order that they should vote no-confidence in
Letta's fragile government, which was cobbled together in April
to end two months of deadlock after February's general election
failed to produce a clear winner.
Another senior PdL figure, the party's former Lower House
whip Fabrizio Cicchitto, said Tuesday that the decision to
withdraw the party's ministers from government was a mistake.

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