Election-Winning Parties Nominate Parliament Leaders
ROME (AP) _ The new leaders of Italy’s parliament were nominated Thursday as part of a political deal expected to make media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi premier.
The nominations must be approved when the new parliament convenes Friday. But party leaders said a majority of lawmakers back the choices: Irene Pivetti, a 31-year-old deputy from the Northern League for speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, and Carlo Scognamiglio, a former telecommunications executive from the Liberal Party, for Senate president.
Both nominees come from parties within the conservative coalition that won elections last month, making their selection a significant break from the power-sharing tradition of the last half-century. The long-ruling Christian Democrats and its centrist allies traditionally gave the speaker’s seat to the opposition Communist Party.
But the elections swept away the scandal-battered power structure and the winners - a conservative coalition led by Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Let’s Go, Italy) party - have made clear they will claim the top posts for themselves.
The coalition, which includes the pro-autonomy Northern League and the Liberal Party, soundly defeated a leftist bloc dominated by former Communists.
The choices of Scognamiglio and Pivetti were announced by spokesmen from Forza Italia’s two main allies, the Northern League and the National Alliance, which grew out of Italy’s neo-fascist movement.
Berlusconi, the leading candidate for premier, met Wednesday with President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, who will name the head of the new government. The president’s office gave no details of the talks.
Pivetti, a journalist, was the main liaison between the Northern League and the Roman Catholic Church. She was elected to the Chamber in 1992 to represent Milan.
She has come under criticism for statements about Jews that have been considered anti-Semitic. Pivetti called the accusations ″foolishness.″
″Anti-Semitism is one thing that I do not belong to,″ she said. A leader of Milan’s Jewish community, Franco Fiorentini, was among those who came to Pivetti’s defense, saying he ″never saw in her any hint of racism.″
Scognamiglio, 49, a former professor and advisor for various ministries, was vice president of the state-owned telecommunications group Stet from 1984-90. He was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and has served on the Finance Commission and worked on European Union issues.
The current premier, Carlo Ciampi, said his government will resign as soon as officers of the new parliament are elected.
Ciampi’s government is expected to be asked to stay on as a caretaker until a new government is formed.