Rome

PD plays down danger of govt falling over election schedule

Centre-right wants regional, national elections held together

PD plays down danger of govt falling over election schedule

Rome, November 15 - The main centre-left Democratic Party (PD) on Thursday played down the danger that Premier Mario Monti's government could be brought down before the end of its term because of a row over election schedules. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party is reportedly considering withdrawing its support from Monti's emergency technocrat administration unless regional elections in Lazio, Lombardy and Molise are combined with national elections next spring. Lazio and Lombardy need early elections because their administrations were recently scratched after PdL governors Renata Polverini and Roberto Formigoni resigned amid corruption scandals, while last year's election in Molise was annulled because of voting irregularities. The PdL, the centrist UDC and the Northern League say they want the national and regional votes combined to save money and prevent the next six months becoming one long election campaign. But the PD says elections are needed in the three regions before then to fill a vacuum of governance. The national elections are not expected to take place until April. The centre-left party also wants to vote soon to take advantage of the lead its has in the opinion polls and it hopes success in the regions will give it momentum for the national vote. "I hope there won't be a government crisis and I don't think there will be," PD Secretary Pier Luigi Bersani said Thursday. He added that the parties must overcome the current stall in negotiations for a new election law to replace the much criticism system in place at the moment. "If you want to consider the hypothesis of bringing forward the national elections, you have to proceed with changing the electoral law and not cause controversy," Bersani said.

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