Letta says would be 'crime' to bring down govt

Executive's stability is 'fundamental'

Letta says would be 'crime' to bring down govt

Rome, August 2 - Premier Enrico Letta said Friday that it would be a "crime" if his left-right government collapsed after the supreme court upheld a tax-fraud conviction against Silvio Berlusconi. The already fragile government is seen as in greater peril after the ruling, which makes Berlusconi ineligible to run in future elections. "It would be a crime not to keep going, to stop in the worst way, because the government's work is starting to bear fruit," Letta told a meeting of the small centrist Civic Choice party of his predecessor Mario Monti, which supports his administration. "The results are within reach and we can already touch them". Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) government has so far said it will keep backing the executive and so has Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD). But the strained alliance between traditional foes is under huge pressure, with PdL MPs rallying around Berlusconi while many PD lawmakers enthusiastically stress that their party should vote to have Berlusconi stripped of his status as Senator. Letta said that political instability is the last thing Italy needs. The country is still battling to emerge fron its longest recession in over two decades and it flirted with a Greek-style meltdown less than two years ago, when Berlusconi was forced to step down as premier at the height to the eurozone crisis to make way for Monti's emergency technocrat administration. "The stability of the government is fundamental, including at the international level, as it's one of the main factors to attract foreign investment," said Letta, whose government took power in April to end two months of political deadlock after February's inconclusive general election.

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