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Speaker denounces 'serious sexist insults' in House

M5S member says sexual favours used by some to enter parliament

30 January, 15:54
Speaker denounces 'serious sexist insults' in House (ANSA) - Rome, January 30 - Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini on Thursday denounced very serious sexist insults thrown about following scuffles inside the chamber that saw one female politician slapped by a male colleague on Wednesday.

"Yesterday, we witnessed serious incidents," that create an institutional atmosphere that is "intolerable and incompatible" with parliamentary debate, Boldrini said, to applause from some politicians.

After she spoke, seven members of her Democratic Party (PD) filed a complaint against Massimo De Rosa, member of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), for throwing out sexual insults.

He denied that, and said he had simply suggested that some people got into parliament only because they had performed some sexual favours.

"I was referring to all: men and women," he said.

"I was not referring to anyone in particular - not even (Alessandra) Moretti".

Moretti was one of seven PD members who have filed a complaint against De Rosa.

Meanwhile, PD Senator Federico Fornaro complained that although personal attacks were made by members of the M5S against Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who they are trying to impeach, other parties are acting badly as well.

"I wonder what else needs to happen to (demonstrate) that we have reached the point of no return for our democracy," said Fornaro. "As an Italian I am ashamed of what I have seen and heard".

Earlier, a lawmaker of the centrist Civic Choice on Thursday apologised for allegedly slapping a female colleague of M5S during a protest in the House the day before.

Stefano Dambruoso, an officer called a quaestor responsible for keeping order in the Lower House of parliament, said however his allegedly unintentional gesture had been aimed at preventing Loredana Lupo and her M5S colleagues from attacking Boldrini.

Members of the M5S were angry with Boldrini after she used the Speaker's guillotine powers for the first time in history to interrupt a filibuster they were was staging so a decree providing for the revaluation of the share capital of the Bank of Italy could pass before it was timed it out. MS5 is opposed to the measure because they believe it only benefits the nation's banks.

Dambruoso on Thursday refused to resign over the incident, claiming he had simply "done his duty".