Alfano not taking part in PdL party meeting, plays down split
Deputy premier says contributing to unity by absence25 October, 20:45
(see related story) (ANSA) - Rome, October 25 - Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said he would not attend a meeting of senior members of his People of Freedom (PdL) party on Friday, but played down speculation this suggested the party was about to split.
At the meeting ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi is set to outline how he intends to press forward with plans to abandon the PdL and create a revamped version of the centre-right party under its former name, Forza Italia.
Many moderates in the party have said they are against moving to a resuscitated Forza Italia. "My contribution to the unity of our political movement, which I will never hamper for reasons linked to my personal role, is to not participate, as others are doing," said Alfano, who is also the PdL secretary - a role he would probably not have in the new Forza Italia.
Maurizio Gasparri, another senior PdL member who is seen as being in the middle between pro-government doves and hawks who want to see an end to the alliance with Premier Enrico Letta's centre-left Democratic Party, said he was not taking part either and called for an end to a "self-destructive effort".