PdL splinter group talks to go ahead
'Autonomous groups' in both houses says Formigoni02 October, 15:00
Berlusconi switched to renew support for Letta's executive, cobbled together between traditional foes after a two-month post-election stalemate in April, after realising he was tearing his party apart, and his climbdown is seen as a bid to heal a deep rift in the previously ultra-loyal PdL.
But this may be in vain because the crisis has shown there are more so-called 'doves', willing to put Italy's problems ahead of Berlusconi's legal woes, than the charismatic leader thought.
"I confirm my proposals, I'm going to propose setting up autonomous groups in the House and Senate, to make things clear," said Formigoni, a former governor of Lombardy, the region around Milan.
Berlusconi ordered the PdL to bring down the right-left government headed by the Democratic Party (PD)'s Letta saying he felt betrayed because the PD was not willing to prevent his ouster from the Senate after a tax-fraud conviction.
At least 25 PdL Senators balked at this, saying they were willing to continue to back Berlusconi's fight against allegedly biased left-wing magistrates but economic and political reforms had to come first. Five PdL ministers ordered to resign Saturday are among the rebels led by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano who have heeded domestic and international calls to keep the executive going to boost a timid recovery from Italy's longest recession in 20 years and carry out structural reforms including changing an electoral law blamed for February's inconclusive result.