Berlusconi tells FI members to not air laundry in public

Forza Italia meeting adjourned so MEPs can attend

(ANSA) - Rome, November 25 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi denied Tuesday that his party was in trouble, and said that Forza Italia members should solve their own issues internally.
    He spoke after a meeting of the FI leadership, which said they would reconvene on Wednesday so members now sitting in the European Parliament can return from Strasbourg, where Pope Francis spoke earlier in the day, to take part.
    The party was reviewing the results of regional elections in Emilia-Romagna and Calabria on the weekend that saw the FI fall dramatically in its total vote.
    In Emilia-Romagna, the FI total vote was less than 10%.
    Berlusconi told the meeting that internal polling shows that internal disputes would hurt FI at election time, and urged greater cooperation between the parties of the centre-right.
    That would include the New Centre Right (NCD) party, which split last year from FI over Berlusconi's failed attempt to bring down the coalition government then led by Enrico Letta of the Democratic Party (PD).
    Berlusconi also appealed to FI members to avoid airing the party's dirty laundry in public.
    After Sunday's regional losses, a prominent MP from within Berlusconi's party labelled the results as a call for action, saying the party must bring in new blood.
    "I sincerely hope no one will dare minimize or seek alibis for the dramatic results in Calabria and Emilia Romagna," said Raffaele Fitto, a one-time confidant of Berlusconi who now leads a dissenting minority within FI that is not happy with the fact that the ex-premier has entered into negotiations over electoral law reform with centre-left PD Premier Matteo Renzi. Berlusconi said earlier this month that he would work on "relaunching and refounding FI" and that he had "recovered unity" with Fitto.


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