Rome

PD bigwig opposes making Berlusconi 'ineligible'

Issue is a 'non-starter', Violante says

PD bigwig opposes making Berlusconi 'ineligible'

Rome, May 21 - A senior politician in the center-left Democratic Party (PD) on Tuesday said he was opposed to enforcing a law which would make Silvio Berlusconi, head of the centre-right Party of Freedom (PdL) party - the other main group in the current left-right alliance backing Premier Enrico Letta's government - ineligible for public office. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference, Luciano Violante - a former House speaker - said: ''Three or four times in past parliamentary terms, the centre left voted in a certain way (against ineligibility). If there are no new developments, I don't see why we should change this stance''. The ineligibility issue hit Letta fledgling administration on May 16, when PD Senate whip Luigi Zanda was he was personally in favour of the application of a 1957 law barring the holder of government licenses, like the ones Berlusconi has for his TV networks, from holding public office. An interim spokeswoman for the PdL, Anna Maria Bernini, responded to Zanda with a veiled threat, calling his words ''mines planted under the political ground the Letta government is acting on''.

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