Rome

Onida dismisses idea 'wise-men' to be ministers

Says expert panel's proposals in hands of president

Onida dismisses idea 'wise-men' to be ministers

Rome, April 22 - One of Italy's '10 wise men' dismissed the idea that the panel of experts could become Italy's next set of ministers on a radio interview Monday, but expressed hope that the panel's proposals would make the agenda of the next government. Valerio Onida is president of Italy's Constitutional Court and was a member of the so-called '10 wise-men' panel of experts appointed by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to devise a government programme capable of winning cross-party support and break Italy's political impasse, which was created by February's inconclusive parliamentary elections. Asked whether to take the suggestion as a joke that the 'wise-men' could convert to government cabinet, Onida told Radio Capital, "Yes, yes. This connection has already already been triggered. But it's a fantasy of our (media) system, always looking for (the next tactical maneuver of one thing or another)". Regarding whether the list of proposals delivered by the panel on April 12 were likely to make the next government agenda, Onida responded, "Why should we 'wise men' have lost time? If, then, our suggestions are a point of departure for the new government, it is up to the first user to say so - the president of the republic. Then, possibly, other users will come along". Asked whether the panel's proposals could only be formalized in a president-appointed government, Onida responded, "Here the discussion is widening inappropriately. One speaks of a president's government, but the constitution foresees simply that governments are governments, nominated by the head of state and (then) must have confidence of parliament". The 'wise-men' proposals included a new election system in which only the Lower House of parliament would have political functions, instead of the current system in which the House and Senate are equally powerful. Napolitano, 87, was re-elected president over the weekend by Italian parliament members and certain regional government representatives, and is scheduled to be sworn in on Monday afternoon. The Napolitano was supported by both the centre-right and centre-left after a divisive series of inconclusive votes led to the resignation of centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, who found himself unable to steer his own coalition, much less a quorum vote.

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