Italy: Bersani presents 8 points for 'government of change'

Centre-left's 'essential' conditions for government

06 March, 15:28

    (ANSAmed) - Rome, March 6 - Italian leader of the centre-left Pier Luigi Bersani presented an eight-point programme to party executives on Wednesday, after deeply divided parliamentary elections left Italy in political deadlock last week.

    Bersani, whose coalition edged out the nearest rival - the centre-right coalition - by one percent, said the programme constituted ''essential'' conditions for any prospective government. Here are the eight points: 1. OUT OF THE EUROZONE 'AUSTERITY CAGE' - Five years of austerity brought on by Eurozone stability measures have only exacerbated sovereign debt troubles and economic contraction throughout the affected countries, Bersani claims. Thus budget discipline must be balanced with pro-growth public investment and greater flexibility in public finances in the medium term. 2. URGENT EMPLOYMENT AND SAFETY-NET MEASURES - A series of a dozen or so measures that include establishing a national minimum wage; a universal system of unemployment benefits; eased budget discipline for local governments to boost social welfare, schools and health facilities; and paying government suppliers billions in unpaid debts with special-purpose treasury bonds.

    3. REFORMS FOR POLITICAL AND PUBLIC LIFE - Reforms aimed at streamlining and cleaning up government, include halving the number of parliament members (MPs), eliminating provincial governments, reducing compensation for MPs, weeding public-stake companies, slashing bureaucracy, instituting ethics codes for politicians, and electoral law reform.

    4. TURNING A NEW LEAF ON JUSTICE AND EQUALITY - New measures to crackdown on corruption, accounting fraud, vote-trading, tax fraud and to lengthen statutes of limitations.

    5. REGULATE CONFLICT OF INTERESTS FOR PUBLIC OFFICE - Passing conflict of interest reform proposed by the Constitutional Affairs Committee under the last centre-left government under ex-premier Romano Prodi.

    6. GREEN ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - A series of measures aimed at optimizing the waste cycle, renovating existing construction to meet new energy standards, introducing smart grids, and reclaiming abandoned structures as well as cleaning up brown fields. 7. CIVIL RIGHTS REFORM - Introducing Italian citizenship for all people born on Italian soil and civil unions for same-sex couples similar to German law.

    8. RESEARCH AND EDUCATION - Measures to tackle school dropout rates, structural safety of schools, stable employment for teachers, and researcher recruitment.

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