(ANSA) - Rome, May 29 - Ruling Democratic Party (PD) candidate for Campania governor, Vincenzo De Luca, said Thursday he is suing parliamentary anti-Mafia commission chair Rosy Bindi for defamation after the commission included him on a list of 17 crime-tainted candidates it deems unfit to stand in Sunday's regional elections.
He also challenged her to a public debate, staffers for the candidate said.
De Luca was convicted in January of abuse of office in connection with an incinerator project while he was mayor of the city of Salerno, and handed a suspended sentence of a year in prison plus a one-year ban from holding public office. As a result of the conviction, he was also suspended from holding public office for 18 months under a 2012 anti-corruption law known as the Severino law but the Campania Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) reinstated him three days later.
In a decision Thursday, the supreme Court of Cassation said ordinary courts, not administrative courts, must rule on cases coming under the Severino law. Experts said this would have implications for De Luca, who could be suspended if he wins Sunday's election.
However De Luca himself has begged to differ.
"The Severino law...is not applicable to those who are elected for the first time," he said Thursday. "So I won't be suspended". He was backed up by Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi, who said the Cassation Court ruling "doesn't change anything".
"De Luca is eligible to stand," she said Thursday. "If De Luca wins we'll respect the law, as always". On Friday, parliamentary anti-Mafia commission chair Rosy Bindi said there are no other PD candidates on the list of crime-tainted candidates. "We screened some 4,000 candidates," said commission chief Rosy Bindi, who is from the PD.
"The previous commission did the same thing except after the elections, and it took them a year - we did it in under a month".
"In Italy we don't have a national criminal database, but rather 110 (separate ones). This is an overview," she said.
The list includes 13 candidates from Campania and four from Puglia. Elections are being held in seven regions of Italy. The Campania candidates are as follows: Antonio Ambrosio, Forza Italia; Luciano Passariello, Fratelli d'Italia; Sergio Nappi, Caldoro presidente; Vincenzo De Luca, Democratic Party; Fernando Errico, New Centre Right-Campania popolare; Alessandrina Lonardo Mastella, Forza Italia; Francesco Plaitano, Popolari per l'Italia; Antonio Scalzone, Popolare per l'Italia; Raffaele Viscardi, Popolari per l'Italia; Domenico Elefante, Centro democratico-Scelta civica; Biagio Iacolare, Udc; Carmela Grimaldi, Campania in rete; Alberico Gambino, Meloni-Fratelli d'Italia-An. The Puglia candidates are as follows: Fabio Ladisa, Popolari per Emiliano; Enzo Palmisamo, Movimento per Schittulli; Giovanni Copertino, Forza Italia; Massimiliano Oggiano, Lista Oltre con Fitto.