Italy's Northern League vows to paralyze next government

Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:39am EST
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By Barry Moody and Sara Rossi

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's center-right plans to obstruct the government expected to emerge from an election in less than two weeks time and block legislation, Northern League leader Roberto Maroni said on Wednesday.

The vow by Maroni, the closest electoral ally of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, could cause instability and government paralysis if the center-right wins enough votes to control the balance of power in the Senate after the Feb 24-25 vote, which is expected to be won by the center-left

Maroni's federalist League has its stronghold in Lombardy, which returns the largest number of Senators, and he is standing for governor of the region in a separate election coinciding with the national vote.

The last opinion polls allowed before the election and published on Friday suggested the center-right was narrowly ahead in Lombardy. The League was polling around 5 percent nationally and the center-right 29 percent to Bersani's almost 35 percent.

The Senate upper house is elected on a regional basis, giving the center-right a greater chance of holding the balance of power.

In an interview with Reuters, Maroni, 57, also said the Europe of nation states was dead and should be replaced by maxi regions, including Catalonia and Scotland, and that the European Commission should resign.

It should be replaced by a popularly elected president governing a federal Europe composed of regions, he said.

Outgoing technocrat prime minister and centrist candidate Mario Monti, who is seen likely to join a coalition with the center-left after the election, should give up politics, said Maroni, who has rebuilt the League after a disastrous corruption scandal last year.   Continued...

Italy's Northern League member Roberto Maroni addresses the audience during the Northern League party rally in Bergamo in this April 10, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Paolo Bona/Files