Italy govt in crisis as ministers quit

2013-09-28 22:07
Silvio Berlusconi (Picture: AFP)

Silvio Berlusconi (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Milan - Italy's fragile coalition government was pushed into a full-fledged crisis on Saturday after ministers from former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's political party announced their resignations on Saturday.

The resignation of the five ministers, which were announced but not yet formally tendered, drew the ire of Premier Enrico Letta, who accused Berlusconi of a "crazy" gesture aimed at covering up his personal affairs.

The 5-month-old government has teetered for weeks since the high court confirmed Berlusconi's tax fraud conviction.

Berlusconi's centre-right People of Liberty Party is in an unusual coalition of rival forces with Letta's centre-left Democratic Party, and the resignations signals the end of the alliance.

The resignations must be formally submitted to President Giorgio Napolitano, who must decide if there is any way to continue the government or if new elections must be held.

The announcement by the centre-right ministers came after Berlusconi urged ministers in his party to step down if the government doesn't revoke an increase to Italy's value-added tax that takes effect next week.

Berlusconi ‘forcing govt’s hand’

Tensions already were swirling around a Senate committee vote next week on whether to revoke Berlusconi's legislative seat because of the tax fraud conviction.

Letta, in a statement issued by his office, said Berlusconi was using the sales tax increase as an alibi "to justify the crazy and irresponsible gesture, all aimed only to cover up his personal affairs".

Letta said it was Berlusconi who was forcing the government's hand on the sales tax by depriving it of the stability needed to push through alternative measures.

"The Italian people will know to return to the sender such a big lie and attempt to distort reality," Letta said.

Democratic Party leader Giuglielmo Epifani called the centre-right ministers' move "irresponsible".

"They are provoking a crisis and we must evaluate exactly what the consequences are," he said.

Letta had warned on Friday that he will quit unless he receives prompt pledges of solid support in a confidence vote in Parliament on his government, which is struggling to pull Italy out of a recession.

Nearly all of Berlusconi's senators have vowed to quit, if a Senate committee votes next week to strip him of his Senate seat because of the conviction.
Read more on:    silvio berlusconi  |  italy

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.