From Italian news agency ANSA:
Govt split over US base in Vicenza
Expansion plans prove a fresh headache for Prodi
ROME – Premier Romano Prodi was struggling to maintain unity in his centre-left coalition on Monday as a rift deepened over possible plans to enlarge a US base at the northern city of Vicenza.
The project, which would create the biggest American military base outside the US, is firmly opposed by left-wing and pacifist elements in Prodi’s disparate, nine-party coalition.
But several other parties, including the centrist, Catholic UDC and the Radicals, are equally convinced it should go ahead to prevent damage to Italo-US relations.
Both UDC and Radical party in Italy have a dodgy past, including co-operation with the Berlusconi Right and apologism for cult-like authoritarian groups.
But the Democratic Left (DS), the largest government party, and others including the Greens, the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) and the Italian Communists’ Party (PDCI) renewed their protests on Monday.
The DS underscored surveys showing that 70% of Vicenza residents are against enlarging the base.
The PRC, the third largest party in government, said that a green light would imply “incomprehensible support for the disastrous policies of the Bush administration” and would be a continuation of the foreign policies of the previous government headed by Silvio Berlusconi.
The Greens argued that the project would have a “terrible impact” on the surrounding urban environment.
Other critics said Vicenza citizens should be allowed to decide for themselves via a referendum.
See also here.
- Berlusconi convicted, and now? (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Vicenza in Gold (bopaula.wordpress.com)
- US Army opens new base in northern Italy (stripes.com)
- Vicenza garrison commander suspended (stripes.com)
- Italy Rivalries Threaten to Undo Letta Coalition – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)