Berlusconi quarrels with fascist ally Fini

From British daily The Guardian:

Silvio Berlusconi faces parliamentary crisis as speaker refuses to resign

Rebel lawmakers announce they have signed letter of resignation from Freedom People’s parliamentary party

* John Hooper in Rome
* Friday 30 July 2010

Silvio Berlusconi‘s ruling Freedom People (PdL) movement was on the verge of a split last night that would pitch Italy into a political and constitutional crisis after a group of rebel lawmakers announced they had signed a letter of resignation from the PdL’s parliamentary party and delivered it to their leader, the lower house speaker, Gianfranco Fini.

The move came after the party leadership issued a vehement statement denouncing Fini, the co-founder of the PdL, for stirring up internal dissent and “devastating criticism of decisions taken by the party”. The statement brought to a head long-simmering tensions between the prime minister and the former neo-fascist who had been his principal ally since entering politics 16 years ago.

An unlikely convert to David Cameron-style conservatism,

In fact, Fini’s conversion from fascism to non-fascism is even less credible than Cameron’s conversion from Thatcherism to non-Thatcherite conservatism (which still includes many unpleasant aspects, like the British Tories‘ alliance with Latvian neo-nazis and Polish homophobes). Even after supposedly ceasing to be fascist, Fini’s policies are still racist.

Fini has increasingly argued for more progressive policies, greater internal democracy in the PdL and a less tolerant attitude to suspected corruption among government and party officials.

The prime minister told a press conference afterwards: “We’ve tried everything to make it up with Fini. It hasn’t been possible. I am no longer prepared to accept dissent.”

Berlusconi demanded his former partner leave his job as speaker. But Fini was quoted by associates as having said the post was not in the gift of the prime minister and that he had no intention of going.

He was reported to have responded in the same way to calls for him to leave the PdL – at a meeting Fini was said to have told other senior party officials they would need to resort to the courts to remove him. But the latest statement from his followers indicated they were prepared to set up a separate group in parliament.

Berlusconi insisted his majority was safe, adding “the government is not at risk”. But sources in the Fini camp said that they could tip the balance in the 315-seat upper house and could count on the defection of “at least 34” rebels in the chamber of deputies. That would rob Berlusconi of his majority in the 630-seat lower house too, making his survival dependent on the goodwill of a conservative opposition Christian Democrat party. In such circumstances, he might be tempted to call a snap election.

The leader of the biggest opposition group, the centre-left Democratic Party, Pierluigi Bersani, said: “This is a crisis. Berlusconi must come before parliament.”

But it remained to be seen whether Fini and his supporters would leave and, if they did, how many deputies would join their new group. Fini said he had no intention of resigning from the speaker’s role because of the letter of censure, which stopped short of expelling him from the party.

In an interview with Il Foglio newspaper on Thursday, Fini said he was prepared to come to an agreement with Berlusconi.

“Let’s reset everything, without resentment,” he said. “Berlusconi and I don’t have a duty to be friends or even to appear to be friends, but we should honour a political and electoral commitment with the Italian people.”

The speaker of Italy’s lower house and former ally of Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, has refused to step down after being censured by his own party: here.

See also here.

Italy’s ‘summer of homophobia’: here.

Berlusconi laughs it up with sexist, Hitler and gay bashing jokes: here.

5 thoughts on “Berlusconi quarrels with fascist ally Fini

  1. Berlusconi loses his majority in Italian parliament

    Thursday 05 August 2010

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has told his dwindling band of political cronies to prepare for elections after he fell short of an absolute majority in a parliamentary vote.

    The right-wing premier won the key vote on Wednesday, when MPs rejected a no-confidence motion against Justice Ministry undersecretary Giacomo Caliendo, who is under police investigation for alleged influence peddling.

    But the motion only fell because former members of Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party who recently defected to a rival party abstained rather than voting with the opposition.

    Former fascist Gianfranco Fini, who cofounded the PDL with the premier, established the Future and Freedom for Italy group last week following disagreements over the graft that allegedly extends to the top of Mr Berlusconi’s administration.


  2. Row over Monte Carlo flat heats up

    Fresh squabble between Fini and Il Giornale

    18 August, 17:31

    (ANSA) – Rome, August 18 – Polemics over the controversial sale of an apartment in Monte Carlo willed to the right-wing party which House Speaker Gianfranco Fini merged into premier Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) flared on Wednesday, creating further tension in the governing majority.

    Il Giornale – a daily owned by Berlusconi’s brother Paolo – alleges that Fini knew of the sale to an offshore company which now rents the flat to his partner’s brother. In its latest report Il Giornale carried an interview with a Monte Carlo resident who claimed to have met Fini and his partner, Elisabetta Tulliani, last December, when they visited the flat, reiterating charges that the speaker is lying and covering for his relations.

    Earlier this month, Fini offered a detailed, eight-point explanation of the deal, rejecting accusations of wrongdoing and claiming that he had only recently learned that Tulliani’s brother was living in the flat.

    The paper, which has been collecting readers’ signatures calling for his resignation, claims that Fini bought furniture for the flat and was seen there more than once.

    The speaker says the accusations are defamatory and has sued for libel.

    On Wednesday, his spokesman scoffed at an interview with Giorgio Mereto, a local engineer who claimed that Fini and his partner were escorted to the flat by Monte Carlo police.

    The report is a “figment of Mereto’s imagination,” he said, stressing that Fini would no longer get entangled in “a violent and defamatory campaign” that has “degenerated into a vulgar soap opera” by providing further explanations.

    He blasted the paper for not checking facts, saying that a routine call to Monte Carlo police would have ruled out Mereto’s story. Il Giornale’s editor-in-chief Vittorio Feltri promptly rebutted the accusation, saying the story had been verified and stressing that there was no reason to doubt Mereto.

    The row between Il Giornale and Fini, who Berlusconi ousted from the PdL last month, was initially ignored by other dailies until Rome prosecutors opened a probe on the sale two weeks ago.

    The probe began after two ex members of Fini’s old National Alliance (AN), now with a rival rightist formation, filed a formal complaint on suspected fraud charges.

    According to Il Giornale, the flat, in a swanky area of Monte Carlo, was allegedly sold at a knockdown price to an offshore company which then sold it to another offshore company which now rents it to Giancarlo Tulliani.

    Fini, once widely expected to become Berlusconi’s political heir, distanced himself from the premier on a number of issues shortly after their PdL party swept into power in the 2008 general elections.

    After months of acrimonious exchanges, at the end of July Berlusconi threw Fini out of the party.

    The Speaker immediately formed a breakaway parliamentary group – Future and Freedom for Italy (FLI) – depriving the government of a majority in the House and raising the spectre of early elections.

    In his written statement, Fini stressed that in nearly 30 years of parliamentary activity he had never had problems with the judiciary, a direct jab at Berlusconi who has been beset with court cases since his entry into politics in 1994.

    “I have absolutely nothing to hide or to fear over this Monte Carlo story,” Fini said in his August 8 statement.

    The Speaker said the flat was in dire need of renovation and had been sold by AN for 300,000 euros in 2008 after Giancarlo Tulliani told him that he knew a company willing to buy it.

    Fini said he was “surprised and disappointed” when he later learned from his partner that her brother Giancarlo was renting the flat.

    The speaker said he felt obliged to present his side of the story because the pro-Berlusconi papers have been waging an “obsessive campaign” against him.

    Critics, including the leader of the opposition Italy of Values party, former graft-busting magistrate Antonio Di Pietro, say Fini’s explanations have come too late and are not sufficient.

    But FLI MPs are sticking to the Speaker’s side and urging the critics to wait for the end of the judicial probe.

    Feltri says early elections appear to be inevitable because Fini’s FLI group will break with the Berlusconi government once parliament reconvenes in September.

    Some PdL MPs and ministers have said they are trying to mediate with FLI and Fini in a bid to avoid a crisis but the ongoing row between the speaker and Il Giornale may dash any efforts towards a patch-up.


  3. Pingback: Berlusconi in sex with minor scandal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Berlusconi, anti-Semite | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Racism from nazi Germany to today | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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