Italy’s Fini defiant after clash with Berlusconi

ROME, April 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Italian right-wing leader
Gianfranco Fini showed no regrets on Sunday after clashing with
ally and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and said he would
only respect party decisions that have been properly discussed.

Fini and Berlusconi, joint founders of the ruling People of
Freedom party, publicly crossed swords at a party congress on
Thursday, when Fini accused his boss of stifling internal debate
and giving too much power to the pro-autonomy Northern League.

Speaking in a television interview on Sunday, Fini said he
was proud of having “torn the veil of hypocrisy” that gave a
false impression of blanket internal party agreement.

Fini said he had no intention of heeding Berlusconi’s call
for him to resign as speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, and he
and his followers would “only respect party decisions that are
discussed and motivated”.

The half-hour interview was Fini’s first public appearance
since the clash which has dominated Italian media for the last
three days and fuelled speculation about how long the
centre-right government can last.

Berlusconi’s leadership “cannot and must not cancel out …
the possibility of different opinions, sometimes of dissent,” he
said.

Fini, viewed as a possible successor to the 73-year-old
Berlusconi as prime minister, mixed his defiance with pledges of
loyalty to the government, while rejecting the idea of early
elections and denying he had any plans to form a separate party.

“Even talking about early elections is irresponsible,” he
said, saying the fall of the government would expose Italy to
“an enormous risk of ending up like Greece,” in reference to the
Mediterranean country’s debt crisis.

“I have no intention of forming another party. I plan to
continue discussing inside my own party about some political
problems,” Fini said.
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Italy’s Fini defiant after clash with Berlusconi