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
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Life and Style
life
News
‘The Graduate’, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, was directed by Nichols in his purple period
people
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

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager