Defenders challenge M5S call to impeach Napolitano

President 'loved' by Italians, says Famiglia Cristiana

Defenders challenge M5S call to impeach Napolitano

(See related) Rome, August 13 - Opponents of Italy's 5-Star Movement (M5S) were quick to shout down a party suggestion Tuesday to impeach Italian President Giorgio Napolitano should he grant any sort of pardon to ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi in his current legal troubles. Napolitano made a long-awaited response to clemency calls Tuesday, noting that all definitive convictions must be executed even though he would see if a pardon, if requested, was possible. Mario Giarrusso, a Senator with the maverick M5S led by comedian Beppe Grillo, triggered the controversy when he wrote on his Facebook page that Napolitano would be headed for serious trouble if he granted amnesty to Berlusconi, whose conviction for tax fraud was upheld last week by Italy's highest appeals court. Not surprisingly, supporters of Berlusconi within his People of Freedom (PdL) party were quick and harsh in their condemnation of the M5S suggestion. Mariastella Gelmini, deputy leader of the PDL in the Lower House, called it an extension of the relentless persecution that Berlusconi, Italy's wealthiest man, has long claimed to have suffered through the judicial system. "We are confident that Napolitano will not be intimidated by those whose only goal in life is to eliminate Berlusconi through the courts," said Gelmini. The Famiglia Cristiana also rose quickly to Napolitano's defence, with Antonio Sciortino describing the president as "loved and respected" by Italian citizens, and a "true bastion" of democracy and stability in troubled times. Added PdL politician Elvira Savino, "In such a sensitive period for our country, President Napolitano has shown a sense of State and an extraordinary love for Italy". She added that the M5S attack was "vulgar", and suggested Grillo's party could learn from Napolitano in terms of respecting and defending the nation's institutions. Some supporters of Berlusconi and his People of Freedom (PdL) party have demanded that he be pardoned for his conviction, arguing that he has long been the victim of malicious prosecution. They've even threatened to bring down Italy's fragile coalition government, which has brought together the PdL and the Democratic Party (PD), over the issue. That has led some to suggest that Berlusconi should be pardoned from his sentence, even though a 2012 anti-corruption law makes people who have received definitive criminal convictions ineligible to run in future elections or hold public office.

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