Berlusconi To Propose Eight Bills To Italian Parliament

by
Reuters
Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday his centre-right party would soon present eight bills to parliament, including a proposal to abolish a hated housing tax, in an attempt to seize the initiative despite Italy's political deadlock.

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi speaks during a news conference at Villa Gernetto in Gerno near Milan

Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday his centre-right party would soon present eight bills to parliament, including a proposal to abolish a hated housing tax, in an attempt to seize the initiative despite Italy's political deadlock.

Since elections in February, Italy has been in limbo with a huge protest vote for the populist 5-Star Movement splitting parliament three ways and leaving no group with enough support to rule alone.

Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani has rebuffed overtures from Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party to form a grand coalition with him. In turn, 5-Star leader Beppe Grillo has rejected Bersani's attempt to form an alliance.

"While the other parties are committed to wasting time, we in the People of Freedom party always keep the interests of the country in mind," Berlusconi said on his Facebook page.

He said the eight bills, to be presented in the week starting April 15, would reflect his party's campaign programme during the election. They would be "concrete proposals that will have an immediate positive impact on the real economy and on society, above all in terms of creating new jobs".

The proposals include his promise to abolish and refund the unpopular IMU tax on primary residences, a review of the powers of tax collection agency Equitalia, tax incentives for firms hiring young people, and the scrapping of public funding of political parties.

Some of the bills could receive support from other parties. Grillo's 5-Star has also called for the end of the IMU tax on primary homes and of public funding for parties.

Berlusconi said the PDL would outline the proposals in more detail on April 13, and that they were ready to be presented to the Senate, Italy's upper house of parliament.

His list of bills also includes reform of the justice and fiscal system and a proposal to revise Italy's constitution to strengthen the powers of the prime minister.