Italian interior chief calls for elections

Nov. 4, 2011 at 12:37 PM
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ROME, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Friday elections should be held if Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government fails.

Growing speculation about Berlusconi's ability to hold his coalition and avoid a financial collapse may lead to elections Berlusconi has been trying to avoid, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Berlusconi has indicated the government will call a confidence vote within two weeks on some of the reforms he has promised to EU leaders.

"As we have already said, if the government falls, elections are the only option, it is very simple," Maroni said. "This is the scenario for us."

Maroni, who has been suggested as an alternative to Berlusconi, said he did not take notice of a poll that showed a declining support for the Northern League.

"I see so many polls but I do not worry about them, they do not interest me," Maroni said.

Two members of Parliament belonging to Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party switched to the centrist opposition UDC Party Thursday amid media reports the premier agreed overnight to International Monetary Fund monitoring at the G20 summit in Cannes, France.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said Friday Italy has agreed to IMF scrutiny of its $75 billion austerity plan.

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