House Speaker tells US ambassador 'Italians are suffering'

'We must believe in politics again' says Boldrini

House Speaker tells US ambassador 'Italians are suffering'

Rome, April 5 - US Ambassador David Thorne on Friday met with House Speaker Laura Boldrini, who told him of the plight of average Italian citizens enduring austerity measures, the euro crisis, and political instability amid a hung parliament. "Italians are suffering," she said, "and the institutions therefore need to set an example. Those who live outside the palaces of government must believe again in politics, and the measures approved up until this point are an early sign of steps in that direction". House Speaker Boldrini and her Senate counterpart Pietro Grasso announced in March that they would take 30% voluntary pay cuts and give up their government apartments in response to recession-weary Italians who are largely disgruntled by what they see as an overpaid political elite. According to figures last year, MPs make an estimated 16,000 euros per month, and Senators earn even more, the highest in the EU. The anti-political sentiment was seen as a key to the stunning success of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) of comedian Beppe Grillo, which holds the balance in a divided Senate and refuses to compromise with other parties in order to form a government.

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