Rome

Northern League-PdL alliance solid 'for the north'

But Maroni acknowledges grassroots discontent

Northern League-PdL alliance solid 'for the north'

Rome, February 19 - Roberto Maroni, secretary of the regionalist Northern League, on Tuesday said the party's election alliance with the People of Freedom (PdL) party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi was solid even as he acknowledged grassroots discontent. ''The league governs together with the PdL in three regions and 500 local municipalities in the North,'' Maroni told an ANSA forum ahead of general elections on February 24 and 25. ''I can understand the complaints coming from the base, but if the PdL has leprosy and accords are no longer possible the consequence would be to topple all the administrations. Since this cannot be the case, we have renegotiated an agreement based on the macro-region and (the commitment to leaving) 75% of taxes in the North,'' he continued. ''The alliance exists on the basis of this written agreement and on this basis it is solid and can continue,'' he concluded. The PdL and Northern League were allies in the last Berlusconi government but parted company when technocrat Mario Monti took over at the height of the euro crisis, with Berlusconi joining a right-left coalition backing the ex-European commissioner which the League opposed. In January Berlusconi announced a new deal as part of the centre right's bid to return to power following Monti's 15-month government, which fell when Berlusconi pulled out of the coalition.

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