Letta's party tells Berlusconi to end ultimatums
Epifani says PdL wants to drive Letta govt to right20 September, 20:11
Letta's fragile executive decided to roll back the unpopular IMU property tax in August after Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party threatened to pull its support and sink the fragile government if it did not.
The PdL has also threatened to torpedo the administration if it fails to avert a 1% rise in the top band of value added tax scheduled for October.
Berlusconi this week backed off from another threat to sink the government if the PD voted against the PdL on a Senate panel over a move to have the ex-premier stripped of his parliamentary seat after tax-fraud conviction was upheld by the supreme court in August. "It's clear the Berlusconi no longer wants a peace-making government, he wants the programme of policies of the centre right," PD secretary Guglielmo Epifani told a party meeting.
"For us a (coalition) government at the service of the nation is not this, it is one that pulls the country out of the economic crisis. "The fall of the government does not seem to me to be a good thing for the centre-right.
"But the risk is that we are in for continual trials and turmoil, with threats and blackmail alternating with moderation.
It's not acceptable". Epifani said, however, that he agreed with the PdL that the VAT rise needed to be avoided.
He added that he would propose to the party executive that it hold its next congress - at which the PD's rising star, Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi is expected to be elected the new secretary in a leadership primary - on December 8.