The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Mr Gianfranco Fini (pictured) had harsh words for his ally Prime Minister Berlusconi yesterday in an unprecedented outburst of protest against the coalition leader. Speaking at a conference of the Popolo della Libertà in Rome yesterday Mr Fini spoke out against Berlusconi’s ideas on federalism, immigration, (in alliance with the Northern League) and government reform which is high on Berlusconi’s agenda.
Mr Berlusconi counter-attacked Fini with accusations of indifference towards the coalition during last month’s regional elections and challenged him to resign as President of the House of Deputies (lower house) in Parliament, a position held by Fini since the electoral victory in 2008. The conference then took a nasty turn and became a shouting match between the two leaders. Opposition leader Pierlugi Bersani criticised the event as a “nasty spectacle” and embarassment for all the world to see.
Mr Fini’s obvious appeal for greater democracy within the party co-founded by him has relatively few supporters although is considered as an important rift in what is still considered to be the country’s strongest political force. Pierferdinando Casini of the UDC has also reiterated that his party left the alliance for the same reasons.
Berlusconi described Fini’s group as a “cancerous tumour” within the party and stated that Fini “has to go”.