Italy's leftwing and center-left parties in 'alliance' talks

Italy's leftwing and center-left parties in 'alliance' talks

(ANSA) - Rome, August 1 - Italy's center-left Democratic Party (PD) showed signs of aligning itself with the leftwing SEL party and its leader distanced himself from former ally and head of the antigraft party Italy of Values (IdV) on Wednesday. "SEL (Left, Ecology and Freedom) is willing to be a founding member with the PD in a hopeful alliance to build an alternative to the 30 years of economic liberalism that have brought Italy into a great crisis," said party leader and Puglia Governor Nichi Vendola after a one-and-a-half hour meeting with PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani. The two groups have not forged a formal coalition, a proposal Vendola shot down Wednesday as "fantasy". Following the meeting, Bersani distanced himself from former ally and Clean Hands graftbuster Antonio Di Pietro and his IdV (Italy of Values) party, which has taken a staunch anti-austerity platform since Premier Mario Monti took the helm of a technocratic government when Silvio Berlusconi was driven from office in November. "The IdV has made its choice for some time. It's chosen another road," said Bersani. Bersani and Di Pietro both served as ministers in the Romano Prodi government from 2006-08. Vendola put even more distance between his leftist party and Di Pietro's. "It saddens me, but his continuous polemics and his exagerated propodanda risks taking him adrift". On Tuesday, Di Pietro lashed out at Monti and President Giorgio Napolitano, calling them "worse than Berlusconi". Backlash to Monti's reforms played a significant role in local elections in May when each party supporting Monti's administration, except the PD, suffered significant losses. Monti on Tuesday reiterated that he plans to step down in 2013 when new elections are scheduled. (photo: Pier Luigi Bersani and Nichi Vendola)

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