PD rep slams PdL call to 'rebalance' cabinet

Center right whip wants more ministers in coalition govt

PD rep slams PdL call to 'rebalance' cabinet

Rome, July 22 - The Lower House whip for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) slammed a demand by his centre-right counterpart to "rebalance" the cabinet with more ministers for Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party (PdL), in a newspaper interview published on Monday. PD Chamber chief Roberto Speranza called Brunetta's demand a "fantasy" in an interview with daily Il Corriere della Sera. "The PdL must demonstrate the ability to put the interests of the country above those of their party and Silvio Berlusconi," Speranza said. Speranza said the PD was "giving its all for a government that solves the problems of Italians". "In this moment, we need less discussion about ministerial seats," added Speranza. In particular, the economy minister - a seat the PdL has hankered for currently occupied by the PD's choice, the economist Fabrizio Saccomanni - "can't be touched," said Speranza. "He is managing (the national budget) prudently in a phase in which it is certainly not easy to make ends meet," Speranza said. Speranza also told the newspaper that Brunetta needs to remember that any cabinet changes are for the PD premier to choose. "The premier's name is Enrico Letta, not Renato Brunetta," Speranza said. In an interview with the newspaper L'Avvenire, Brunetta had called for "rebalancing" the cabinet to better reflect last February's parliamentary vote. In the general elections, the centre-left "took only 0.3% more than we did, but they have twice as many ministers," Brunetta complained. The results of February's general election were inconclusive, with the centre-left winning roughly 31% of the vote, the centre-right garnering a litte over 30%, and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement winning about 25%. A left-right coalition was formed in April to break the stalemate. The union has been volatile from the start, and tension has mounted as the supreme Cassation Court convenes July 30 to hear an appeal from Berlusconi over a fraud conviction over film rights at his Mediaset media empire. If the court does not overturn his five-year ban from public office, Berlusconi's supporters have threatened to pull the plug on the government. (photo: Silvio Berlusconi)

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