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Letta tells Berlusconi not to turn 'nihilist'

Premier says would be mistake for country and ex-pm

23 December, 14:00
Letta tells Berlusconi not to turn 'nihilist' (ANSA) - Rome, December 23 - Premier Enrico Letta on Monday appealed to Silvio Berlusconi not to turn "nihilist" after he pulled the support of his centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party from the executive.

FI moved to the opposition last month, days before votes from Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) helped see Berlusconi ejected from the Senate following a definitive tax-fraud conviction against the three-time premier.

Since then Berlusconi and FI bigwigs have been extremely critical of the government they supported for seven months.

The does not bode well for the chances of getting FI's support for institutional reforms that the government wants to push through to cut the cost of Italy's political machinery and make the country easier to govern.

"Berlusconi should not take a nihilist, populist road," Letta said at the premier's traditional end-of-year news conference.

"It would be a mistake for the country and for him. The political story that he has behind him cannot end with a populist, nihilist bent".