Rome

Furore after House backtracks on party-funds transparency

External checks on party finances withdrawn from regulation

Furore after House backtracks on party-funds transparency

(ANSA) - Rome, September 19 - The removal of a measure in new House regulations that would oblige Italian political parties to have external auditors certify their budgets has sparked a major furore. Critics say the failure to keep the measure proposed by House Speaker Gianfranco Fini in July is likely to feed public disaffection with the nation's political class following a series of scandals hitting various parts of the party spectrum. The measure was reportedly removed because lawmakers drafting the regulations feared it would impeach on the principle that constitutional bodies such the houses of parliament should be self-regulated. The draft of the new regulations on financial transparency is set to be looked at by a House committee later on Wednesday, when it is possible that the obligation to have external scrutiny of party budgets will be reinstated. The new regulations are expected to be discussed on the floor of the House next week. Several parties, including the main centre-left Democratic Party and the centrist Catholic UDC, said they would have their party budgets scrutinized by external auditors even if this was not obligatory. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party has not pledged to do so.

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