Big M5S,League tension over graft cases

Govt won't last if they think we're corrupt says League whip

(ANSA) - Rome, May 17 - Tension between coalition partners the 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the League over a series of recent corruption cases climbed even higher on Friday, with doubts raised about the ability of the government to hold up.
    Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio has said Italy is facing a second 'Tangentopoli', the 'bribesville' scandal that brought down Italy's post-war political establishment in the 1990s, after the League's mayor of the northern city of Legnano was arrested in a bribes case this week.
    The League's Armando Siri was recently sacked as transport ministry undersecretary after being put under investigation in a corruption case following intense pressure from the M5S.
    Another League undersecretary, Edoardo Rixi, is on trial for alleged irregularities in expense claims by parties in the Ligurian regional assembly between 2010 and 2012. "Di Maio has based the M5S's campaign for the (European) elections (this month) on the moral difference between us and them," the League's Lower House whip Riccardo Molinari told Radio anch'io.
    "It's very serious that investigations are being used for electoral propaganda. "If Di Maio is convinced that the League is a party of the corruption, it will be tough to keep going". M5S sources told ANSA they did not think everyone in the League was corrupt but added that it was a problem if the party did not banish those suspected of graft.
    "The corrupt must be kicked out," the source said.
    "We'll never give up on this, regardless of the elections. "Molinari's comments seem to be a way of putting out his hands in order to save Rixi if he is convicted". Fellow Deputy Premier, Interior Minister and League leader Matteo Salvini dismissed the talk of a second Tangentopoli.
    "The (Legnano) investigation regards three people," he said.
    "I'm not a judge. I have full confidence in the judiciary.
    "But from the elements at my disposal, I haven't even seen half a crime by these three people. "Let's let justice take its course. Fortunately, the time of Tangentopoli is over".
    Salvini also reiterated his criticism of the M5S for being prone to block projects. "Let the League get down to work and stop it with all these noes," he said.
    "I'm worried about a series of measures that the country needs," he added, citing plans to introduce a two-tier flat tax, give greater autonomy to some regions and pass a new security package. "Let's hope that we start having some yeses again after the European elections or there will be a problem".