Rome

PdL threatens toppling government if IMU not repealed

'Enough waffling' says Brunetta

PdL threatens toppling government if IMU not repealed

Rome, August 28 - The fragile coalition government will fall apart if a controversial property tax known as IMU is not rolled back, ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party repeated on Monday. "If the (center left) does not agree to cancel IMU on all primary residences, for us the government has exhausted its mission," said PdL deputy Senate whip Maurizio Gasparri. Over the weekend bigwigs from the center right met at Berlusconi's residence outside Milan to discuss, among other things, a meeting Wednesday in the divided right-left cabinet to decide the fate of the tax. Berlusconi campaigned hard against it in February elections, where he roared to second, ultimately forcing the uncomfortable alliance with the first-place center-left Democratic Party (PD). The PdL has repeatedly threatened to pull its support and topple the government if IMU is not abolished, something Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni says the country cannot afford. "We have the resources, enough waffling," countered PdL Lower House whip Renato Brunetta. "I'm sure (Premier Enrico) Letta will make the right decision. I trust him. Following the PdL powwow, Letta said creating a crisis of government over the tax would be "foolish". The issue of IMU has added to Letta's woes surrounding the conviction of Berlusconi early this month for tax fraud, his first ever binding sentence in almost 20 years of legal entanglements. While Berlusconi seems resigned to accept a one-year term under house arrest or performing community service as part of the supreme Cassation Court's ruling, the PdL says it cannot tolerate working in the same government with the PD if it votes next month in the Senate to uphold a ban from office for the three-time premier, stripping him of his seat in the Upper House. (photo: Renato Brunetta)

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