Rome

Nitto Palma elected as chairman of Senate justice committee

Election of former PdL justice minister applauded by party

Nitto Palma elected as chairman of Senate justice committee

Rome, May 8 - Former justice minister Francesco 'Nitto' Palma was elected chairman of the Senate justice committee Wednesday. Palma, who briefly served as justice minister in the 2011 cabinet of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, won on the fourth ballot. The election of the former anti-Mafia prosecutor - who is seen as a relatively rare right-winger in Italy's politicized judiciary - was loudly applauded by members of Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party. He won the vote without the support of the Democratic Party (PD), whose leader Enrico Letta is Italy's new premier. That appears set to stir conflicts on justice issues between the parties of the left and the right in parliament. The PD and PdL are the main partners in Italy's new government. Justice is a hot-button issue because of Berlusconi's many legal woes and his contention that allegedly left-wing prosecutors and judges must be brought to heel.

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