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Napolitano, Letta 'can't be trusted' says Berlusconi

But party rifts look like forcing ex-premier to reconsider

01 October, 17:53
Napolitano, Letta 'can't be trusted' says Berlusconi (ANSA) - Rome, October 1 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has said in a letter to be published Thursday President Giorgio Napolitano and Premier Enrico Letta could not be trusted because they had not ensured he would keep his Senate seat after a tax-fraud conviction. "How can people who don't ensure (my) political survival be trusted"," said Berlusconi in the letter, which was however written before rifts in his party brought it to the verge of meltdown Tuesday.

He wrote the president and premier were allegedly "hostile" to him and so he had decided to bring the government down.

"Letta and Napolitano should have realised that, since they were not addressing the question of safeguarding the political rights of Italy's centre-right leader, they were destroying an essential element of their credibility," he said, while taking another swipe at allegedly biased magistrates.

On Tuesday, however, sources close to Berlusconi's party said the three-time premier might backtrack from a vow to vote down Letta in a confidence test Wednesday provided certain conditions were met, including not applying the law decreeing his Senate ouster.

Ministers including the secretary of Berlusconi's party, Angelino Alfano, were reportedly reconsidering their resignations, handed in Saturday to spark the government crisis.

One of the conditions reportedly aimed at continuing the alliance would be Alfano taking over from Berlusconi at the head of the revamped Forza Italia, the name with which the media magnate won his first election in 1994.