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Bersani's 8-point platform for 'government of change'

Leader outlines centre-left's 'essential' conditions

06 March, 16:06
Bersani's 8-point platform for 'government of change' (See related stories) (ANSA) - Rome, March 6 - Italian centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Wednesday presented an eight-point programme to senior members of his Democratic Party which will form the basis of a "government of change" that he intends to ask parliament to vote confidence in.

Bersani, whose came first in Italy's general election but failed to win a majority in the Senate, said the programme constituted ''essential'' conditions for any prospective government.

Here are the eight points: 1. MOVES TO EXIT THE EUROZONE 'AUSTERITY CAGE' - Austerity brought on by the eurozone crisis have only exacerbated sovereign debt troubles and economic contraction in the affected countries, Bersani said. So budget discipline must be balanced with pro-growth public investment and greater flexibility in public finances in the medium term, he said.

2. URGENT EMPLOYMENT AND SAFETY-NET MEASURES - A dozen or so measures that include establishing a national minimum wage; a universal system of unemployment benefits; eased budget discipline for local governments to boost social welfare, schools and health facilities; and paying government suppliers billions in unpaid debts with special-purpose treasury bonds.

3. REFORMS FOR POLITICAL AND PUBLIC LIFE - Reforms aimed at streamlining and cleaning up government, including halving the number of parliamentarians, eliminating provincial governments, reducing MPs' pay, slashing bureaucracy, instituting codes of conduct for politicians and electoral-law reform.

4. A NEW LEAF ON JUSTICE AND EQUALITY - New measures to crackdown on corruption, fraud, vote-trading, tax fraud and the lengthening statutes of limitations.

5. REGULATING CONFLICT OF INTERESTS - Passing conflict of interest reforms proposed by the Constitutional Affairs Committee under the last centre-left government of ex-premier Romano Prodi between 2006 and 2008.

6. GREEN ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - A series of measures aimed at optimizing the waste cycle, renovating construction to meet new energy standards, the introduction of smart grids, and revamping abandoned structures.

7. CIVIL RIGHTS REFORM - Introducing automatic Italian citizenship for all people born on Italian soil and civil unions for same-sex couples under regulations similar to German law.

8. RESEARCH AND EDUCATION - Measures to tackle school dropout rates, improve the structural safety of schools, provide stable employment for teachers, and recruit researchers.