Italy PM delivers ultimatum to warring parties
By Ella Ide, AFPROME--Italy's PM Enrico Letta will call for parliament to express support for the government next week in a bid to end a crisis which has driven the bickering ruling coalition to the brink of collapse.
September 29, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The prime minister on Friday told a cabinet meeting tasked with approving key measures to rein in the recession-hit country's budget deficit, that no further legislation would be enacted until the political crisis was resolved.
The cabinet had convened to figure out how to delay a controversial planned rise in a sales tax, but escalating tension over former premier Silvio Berlusconi's tax fraud conviction saw it end in disarray.
“I have no intention of limping along or being the subject of continuous threats,” Letta said in a statement.
“Either we go forward, and the interests of the country and citizens are put first, or this experience ends here,” he said, referring to the uneasy five-month-old coalition between the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party.
Letta had “made clear the inescapable need to clarify the political situation in parliament”, and therefore a temporary “stop to every government decision, even on tax or economic themes, cannot be avoided,” the statement said.
After threats of rebellion from Berlusconi allies over the media mogul's legal problems, Letta spoke of “the impossibility of committing to measures worth billions of euros without a guarantee on the government's continuity.”
The premier is expected to ask parliament to assure its support from as early as Monday.