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Berlusconi's only ally pushes for early vote

08-23-2010 07:36 BJT

ROME, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's coalition ally Umberto Bossi on Sunday pushed again for an early vote as a "must" solution to the country's political crisis.

Bossi, leader of the Northern League party and reforms minister, talking at a folkloristic rally in northern Italy, called for "a poll right now" stressing that it was "impossible to go on like this."

Despite Berlusconi's tentative opening to his former allies led by House Speaker Gianfranco Fini, Bossi believes that the situation has degenerated to "a point of no return" and that nothing can heal a wobbly, unstable government.

Bossi's hard stance follows the approval by Berlusconi's People of Freedom party of a 5-point strategic document to be presented to parliament in September, on which the premier intends to put a vote of confidence to test his majority.

The prime minister said the text was not open to changes and warned that if he lost the vote the country would face early elections. His former allies have not much appreciated the ultimatum.

The Northern League leader is thus skeptical on the outcomes of the document's vote as a means by which to save the ailing majority.

However, Berlusconi remains optimistic in finding an agreement with his opponents in order to continue governing up to 2013, when the current legislature is set to expire. An early vote stands as an extreme measure for him.

The prime minister on Saturday said he was also confident in conquering the Democratic Centrist Union (UDC) of Pierferdinando Casini, who supported Berlusconi's third government in 2005.

But Bossi, irritated by Berlusconi's outstretched hand to the centrists, loudly announced he was against an alliance with Casini' s group, whom he considers as "the evil of Italy."

Last week Bossi promised his supporters were ready to stage mass protests if a caretaker government was formed.

Berlusconi's ally is the only one to openly push for an early vote because he is confident of securing a great part of the ballots.

The electoral base of the Northern League, concentrated in the north of Italy, has widened following the triumph at the 2008 national elections, when the party allied itself with Berlusconi.

In April's regional vote Bossi's group gained further consensus, becoming the main leading party in the north of the country.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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