Italy: Details of Berlusconi succession still in doubt

MPs resist President's plan to install technocrat caretaker prime minister

Milan

The fate of the euro appeared to rest on the shoulders of Italy's squabbling MPs last night, with President Giorgio Napolitano's plans to install a technocrat government winning market support, but encountering fierce parliamentary resistance.

The realisation that Italy was heading rapidly towards bankruptcy had prompted all political parties to pledge that a stability law, containing economic reforms demanded by the EU, would be passed this weekend. But with this done, Silvio Berlusconi will stand down, leaving a dangerous political void that the head of state wants to fill rapidly to prevent further alarm on the money markets.

Borrowing costs eased yesterday on news that President Giorgio Napolitano had made the former EU competition commissioner Mario Monti a senator for life as a precursor to installing him as makeshift premier.

President Napolitano hopes a Monti-technocrat administration will pull Italy through the financial crisis. The plan even received Mr Berlusconi's backing yesterday morning, with him wishing Mr Monti "fruitful work in the country's interest".

But the plans were on a knife-edge last night as two parliamentary parties and leading members of Mr Berlusconi's coalition said they would not back the technocrat administration.

The Northern League and the Italy of Values Party said they wanted fresh elections. These calls were joined by several ministers from Mr Berlusconi's PDL party, including Mr Berlusconi's anointed heir, Angelino Alfano.

Mr Alfano and other senior PDL figures probably fear that a lengthy technocrat administration would lead to further splits in their centre-right power base, hence the preference for taking their chances at the polls.

The main opposition Democratic Party along with some PDL figures, including the Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, were in favour of a Monti government, however. Mr Frattini said: "I would be careful about calling an immediate election, throwing the country into a three-month election campaign with soaring bond spreads and our rising debt. Saving Italy requires credibility and responsibility."

Professor James Walston of the American University in Rome said the level of support appeared some way short of the resounding majority Mr Monti might seek given his politically precarious position as an unelected official.

If President Napolitano succeeds in installing Mr Monti, he would probably call on non-political figures such as the Bank of Italy director Fabrizio Saccomanni along with centrist politicians and skilled fixers such as Mr Berlusconi's chief of staff Gianni Letta.

Its priority would be implementing the unpopular cuts and employment law reforms demanded by the EU.

Mr Monti, a tough negotiator with a record of taking on powerful corporate interests as European competition commissioner, made clear on Wednesday evening what his priorities would be. "Growth needs structural reforms and the cancellation of privileges and contributions from all sections of society," he said in reference to the corruption, nepotism, bureaucracy and tax evasion that have crushed Italy's economy for decades.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz