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Politicians slam M5S Napolitano impeachment bid

'Atrocious' and 'absurd' move against head of State

30 January, 15:11
Politicians slam M5S Napolitano impeachment bid (ANSA) - Rome, January 30 - Politicians on all sides rallied in support of President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano Thursday after the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), led by gadfly ex-comic Beppe Grillo, announced that it had made a formal petition for his impeachment.

Premier Enrico Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the biggest group in parliament, blasted the move, describing it as "an atrocious act aimed only a taking out the fundamental element of our democratic system," according to Roberto Speranza, the PD's House whip.

Defence Minister Mario Mauro said he was "full of indignation as a citizen and as a member of parliament for the very serious and indecorous attacks on the head of State".

Fabrizio Cicchito of the New Centre Right (NCD) described the bid as "simply absurd".

In a brief statement Thursday Napolitano himself said merely that the bid should follow due process.

"Let it run its course," he said. The 88-year-old statesman is serving an unprecedented second term as president after being re-elected last spring to help overcome the political deadlock resulting from inconclusive parliamentary elections in February. The M5S accuses Napolitano of failing in his Constitutional role as an independent arbiter of Italy's political affairs and of favouring the established parties.

It also accuses the president of breaching the Constitution by failing to send back unconstitutional laws to parliament, of abusing his power of pardon and of interfering in a Palermo trial into alleged negotiations between the State and the Mafia two decades ago.

Most recently, it criticised Napolitano for his alleged failure to intervene over a controversial government decree providing for the revaluation of the share capital of the Bank of Italy that the party opposed on grounds it only benefited the nation's banks.

The decree became the object of shoving and pushing on the House floor on Wednesday after Speaker Laura Boldrini used her so-called "guillotine" powers for the first time in history to interrupt a filibuster M5S was staging so it could pass before it was timed it out. M5S is the third-biggest party in parliament after taking around 25% of the popular vote but it is not part of the left-right government of Premier Enrico Letta demanded by Napolitano after refusing to enter into an alliance with any other party. Since then, the movement has taken to blaming the popular head of State for all that it sees is wrong in the way government operates in Italy and has made no secret of its plans to press for his impeachment. In his year-end address on December 31, Napolitano replied indirectly to accusations from the party, saying he was "careful to consider any objective and respectful criticisms or reservations about my work, but I will not be influenced by slanderous campaigns, insults and threats".