Lombardy governor makes last ditch effort to save post

Formigoni says willing to give up governorship but not Expo 2015

Lombardy governor makes last ditch effort to save post

(ANSA) - Milan, October 15 - Lombardy's scandal-rocked governor Roberto Formigoni made a last ditch effort to save his post at the region's helm on Monday. Formigoni said he would call for new elections "as soon as possible" if his historic political allies in the populist Northern League party refused to confirm their support for his PDL-led coalition, led by his own People of Freedom (PdL) party, headed by former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Formigoni said if Northern League representatives accept his invitation back to the executive government on Monday, then he would ready a new, streamlined executive council within a few days. If they do not, Formigoni said new elections would take place "as soon as possible", that "the regulations were being checked" but that it might be possible to hold elections in "45 to 90 days". Formigoni also indicated on Monday that although he was ready to give up the governorship, he was not about to renounce his position as the general commissioner of Milan's Expo 2015, also known as the World's Fair. "The Expo general commissioner is a person chosen by the Italian government to represent Italy to the world. It is not the president for-the-time-being of Lombardy," Formigoni told reporters in Milan on Monday. Last Thursday Formigoni bowed to pressure over an ongoing corruption scandal and dissolved the regional executive government, saying that he would appoint a new, slimlined version over subsequent days. Then over the weekend, his Northern League allies appeared to withdraw their support, pulling the carpet out from under Formigoni's coalition. Formigoni said in an interview published Monday by the Corriere della Sera daily that he was "shocked" by the Northern League's move, saying that it showed the party's "rebellious and unreliable nature". The Northern League is itself still trying to recover from a party-funding scandal earlier this year that forced the resignation of its leader and founder, Umberto Bossi. Northern League secretary Roberto Maroni appealed on Facebook over the weekend for party primaries to be held and for "all Northern League supporters to rally and sign the proposal for new laws and primaries to choose candidates for the governor of Lombardy".

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