Italian PM's only ally gives ultimatum to approve federalism or face early vote

18:03, January 07, 2011      

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's only government ally on Thursday gave an ultimatum for the immediate approval of the federalist reform otherwise the country will face the risk of an early vote.

Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern League Party, urged the government to pass by the end of January the much-awaited and groundbreaking decree implementing for the first time in history federalism in Italy or prepare for an early ballot, local television Rai reported.

"Either federalism is voted as soon as parliament reopens or we will opt for new elections," said Bossi, who however stressed that his friendship with Berlusconi was still solid.

Bossi's goal is to secure in the following weeks the federalist reform, aiming at giving Italy's provinces and regions a greater autonomy from the central state.

Federalism has always been the cornerstone of the Northern League's parliamentary mission and Bossi will never give up on it after years of political battle.

January is thus set to be a crucial month for the survival of the government, who will need to find the necessary votes for the approval of several law decrees, including the federalist reform.

It's the first time that Bossi takes such a hard stance since the opening of the political crisis between Berlusconi and his former ally House Speaker Gianfranco Fini.

According to local commentators, the Northern League chief is tired of the political quarreling inside the majority that has lately intensified despite Berlusconi's narrow victory in December over a vote of confidence set to end his executive.

Source: Xinhua
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