Rome

Berlusconi blasts Monti over handling of marines

Calls for PM's resignation from Senate

Berlusconi blasts Monti over handling of marines

Rome, March 25 - The head of the Italian centre right Silvio Berlusconi blasted outgoing premier Mario Monti on Monday and called for his resignation from the Senate over the case of two Italian marines facing trial in India. "Monti made a shameful impression in the marines' case. He did everything wrong," complained Berlusconi, head of the People of Freedom (PdL) party. Rome has been accused of climbing down after initially reneging on a pledge to return the two anti-piracy marines accused of killing two fishermen. They were returned to India on Friday after a two-week diplomatic tug-of-war between the two countries. The Italian ambassador was blocked in India after Italy announced it would not return the marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to face trial. Rome sanctioned their return Thursday night, in what mant saw as a volte-face, after receiving assurances the death penalty was off the table. Berlusconi also claimed that Monti's technocratic government, which passed painful austerity measures in its year-long stint since Berlusconi was forced to step down at the height of the euro crisis in November 2011, did not consult the PdL "at all". The PdL, along with the centre-left Democratic Party, backed the Monti government until Berlusconi pulled the plug in December and later campaigned against the policies he had supported, staging a strong comeback to come second to the PD in last month's general election. "(The Monti government) did everything on their own," the three-time premier claimed Monday. "They did not consult us at all. They must resign as a group. Let's throw out Monti from the Senate. He's an undeserving Senator for life. He should resign".

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