Rome

Polverini leads Lazio regional council cuts

Embattled governor says won't quit

Polverini leads Lazio regional council cuts

(ANSA) - Rome, September 21 - The scandal-plagued Regional Council of Lazio launched cuts and abolished three "special commissions" on Friday as it began a clean-up of operations. The cuts will free up as much as 20 million euros in new spending for health and social services in the region around Italy's capital city of Rome, said Renata Polverini, the People of Freedom (PdL) party's embattled Lazio governor. Council also approved unanimously the decision to cut by half its number of standing committees, to 8 from the current 16. And it launched its own investigation into the use and possible abuse of party funds by Regional Council members. "Today we hit the target, which I asked for," said Polverini. "We have halved the fees, abolished the special...transfers to the regional board. Now we will put in place serious regulations," she said. Polverini also also confirmed that she has no plans to resign from the Council, despite the current turmoil. "Am I willing to go on? I feel like it," she told the Council. "We need to understand if we feel we can make an important effort...If you feel like it, I feel like it". The Guardia di Finanza has been collecting documents at the Council's headquarters as part of an investigation into possible embezzlement. Earlier in the day, the secretary of the PdL party said Polverini was a "victim" in the Lazio corruption scandal. Angelino Alfano echoed Berlusconi in saying Polverini should not quit. "She is the offended party. She is the victim because she is suffering, like the PdL, image damage," he said. Polverini earlier this week hinted she wanted to step down but later said she had been "betrayed by a system that has existed for years". The scandal erupted earlier this month when the PdL's then-regional chief, Franco Fiorito, was placed under investigation for suspected embezzlement of party funds. On Thursday Fiorito, who has since resigned, said Polverini must have been aware of how the funds were spent.

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