Italy's new ruling bloc still split

ONE WEEK after Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing alliance swept to victory in the Italian elections promising a swift transition to strong government, its members resume their haggling over power-sharing today further than ever from agreement.

Far from moving smoothly to allocate ministries, as they had predicted last week, the coalition partners yesterday stepped up their war of words in a game of brinkmanship that bodes ill for the formation of a stable administration.

'We are in a dangerous situation for democracy,' declared Umberto Bossi, the raucous leader of the federalist Northern League. 'A party that doesn't exist has won these elections; that is, one man alone. People must realise that in this situation only the League can guarantee democracy.' He was referring to Forza Italia, the party of his supposed ally, Mr Berlusconi, who had slapped down Mr Bossi earlier in the day.

Reminding Mr Bossi that his electoral success was at least partly due to his alliance with Forza Italia, Mr Berlusconi said that his party intended to work towards 'an efficient and authoritative government that represents the majority in its entirety'. In a shot across Mr Bossi's bows, he said any moves by the League's leader to contact minor parties with a view to forming an alternative bloc, would be 're-treading the old road'.

Over the weekend, Mr Bossi had raised the price for his support, insisting on two demands. First, that the new government move without delay towards turning Italy into a federal state, and second, that the post of prime minister must go to his number two, Roberto Maroni.

His demands are unacceptable both to Mr Berlusconi, and Gianfranco Fini, the leader of the neo-Fascist National Alliance (AN). The AN has said it can accept some decentralisation, but remains committed to a central state, and continuing financial help for the south. Moreover, Mr Berlus coni has always made it clear that he was set on being prime minister. It is hard to see how such positions can be reconciled.

Gianfranco Miglio, the League's chief theorist, said yesterday that a government 'will not be formed until the beginning of May'. He added that: 'This coalition is not very cohesive. Comments like Fini's (in a newspaper interview), that Mussolini was the greatest statesman of the century, embarrass us. We need certain reassurances from the neo-Fascists.'

Italian newspapers - from the right- wing La Stampa, which carried the interview, to the left-wing daily La Repub blica - have given wide coverage to the international dismay that greeted Mr Fini's words. Mr Berlusconi, however, has kept quiet over the issue.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam