Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

Europe

Berlusconi ally calls for early elections

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-24

Umberto Bossi, the head of the Northern League and the most powerful of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's dwindling number of allies, has called for early elections ahead of a critical confidence vote next month.

REUTERS - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s main coalition ally said early elections were the only way out of Italy’s political crisis, as the premier and his estranged partners kept up an acrimonious war of words.

Berlusconi has challenged former ally Gianfranco Fini’s breakaway group to back a five-point programme at a confidence vote next month or face a vote by December.
 
Fini’s camp retorted at the weekend that it would not accept ultimatums.
 
Umberto Bossi, the outspoken leader of the separatist Northern League party in the ruling coalition, said Italy should now head to the polls, no matter what the outcome of September’s confidence vote.
 
“Berlusconi has said that he has a programme to put to parliament. If they vote in favour, good. Otherwise we go to the polls,” Bossi was quoted as saying by newspapers on Sunday.
 
“I think we must to go the polls either way. It seems unlikely that things can continue like this.”
 
Bossi, whose party is expected to make gains in its home base in Italy’s north if elections are held, later told reporters that an election must be held without delay.
 
Berlusconi also appeared to be preparing his People of Freedom party’s rank and file for the prospect of elections.
 
“We need to reorganise the presence of the People of Freedom on our territory,” he said in an audio message to his Promotori della Liberta group of party activists.
 
“We need to be ready for any eventuality, like that of elections within a short period of time, for example.”
 
"Take it or Leave it"
 
Long-simmering tensions between Fini, the lower house speaker, and Berlusconi culminated in a dramatic split last month that has tipped Italian politics into turmoil.
 
Fini commands the support of 34 deputies and 10 senators, without whom Berlusconi does not have a guaranteed majority in parliament.
 
Verbal sparring between the rival camps escalated over the weekend after Berlusconi was quoted as saying by party members that his five-point agenda was not negotiable and that Fini’s group could “take it or leave it”.
 
Fini’s supporters—who initially welcomed the 10-page programme of measures but were reported to have expressed doubt on some of the judicial reforms included—responded angrily.
 
“Berlusconi’s logic belongs to business circles, not politics,” Italo Bocchino, one of Fini’s top aides, said in an interview published by La Stampa daily on Sunday.
 
“We can’t accept being asked to give 100 percent support to a programme that we haven’t been called to discuss, and which contains things that are not related to the programme.”
 
He warned that the split between the two sides looked irreparable and suggested Fini’s group could form a new political party—a move that Berlusconi had been quoted as saying would be tantamount to betraying voters.
 
Berlusconi last week said surveys he had seen indicated his People of Freedom party and the League could expect to win more than 50 percent support.
 
Bocchino, however, said the polls suggested Berlusconi’s party would lose seats in the lower house to the League and Fini’s group and lose its majority in the Senate.

 

Date created : 2010-08-24

  • ITALY

    Lawmakers reject no-confidence motion against junior minister

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Berlusconi faces crisis after split with key ally

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Silvio does it again

    Read more

COMMENT(S)