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Italy’s Parliament: A Safe Haven for Criminals?

Will the Sun Set on La Dolce Vita?

Today Italy’s parliament voted against the arrest of one Marco Milanese, a member of parliament who Italy’s upholders of law and order would very much like to put away.

Milanese stands accused of corruption, passing on state secrets, interfering with appointments within Italy’s Guardia di Finanza tax police, accepting gifts including a Ferrari, a boat, free travel and accommodation.  He’s also suspected of involvement in the secret P4 corruption network.  It is no wonder investigators were seeking his arrest.

Yet despite the extremely serious allegations this member of Italy’s parliament faces, 312 of his chums voted against his arrest.  According to Italian paper Il Messaggero, Berlusconi was unhappy that only 7 votes saved Milanese from being taken into custody.

The message this sends out to the nation and to the rest of the world, is that corruption is absolutely OK in Italy.

What a message to transmit, especially in view of the legal troubles and scandals which another top ranking Italian member of parliament is facing. That top MP is none other than Silvio Berlusconi – Italy’s Prime Minister.  Incidentally, Berlusconi is about to face charges concerning passing on state secrets to third parties.

Other members of Italy’s ruling party such as Claudio Scajola are also facing allegations of corruption and one is even suspected of being under the thumb of the mafia (Agriculture Minister Francesco Romano).

Recently, another member of Berlusconi’s ruling party, Alfonso Papa, was arrested after Italy’s politicians did actually vote for his arrest.

What happened this time?

Umberto Bossi‘s Lega Nord party decided to save Milanese and, probably, save Bossi’s own political neck too.  It was suspected that if the OK to Milanese’s arrrest had been given, then the Berlusconi government would have toppled.

Bossi, whose party supposedly stands for honesty and integrity, decided that his interests were far more important than demonstrating that misbehaving politicians should be held responsible for their actions.  No.  Instead Bossi assisted in the sending of a message that corruption is good.

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Well, Bossi is actively seeking secession.  He wants to split his area of Italy off from the rest of the country and create a new land called Padania.

Italy’s Credibility Further Jolted

To decide protect one of their own in the midst of a global economic crisis which may well cause Italy’s mismanaged economy to crumble and at a time when Italy is losing credibility by the day, this was not a smart move.  This is not to mention worries that if Italy defaults, it may take the whole of Europe with it.

It could be argued that the vote in Italy’s parliament today was criminally irresponsible.

Vote Result Sparks Protests

Protesters outside the building which houses Italy’s lower house of parliament hurled 5 cent Euro coins in a demonstration of disgust.  The decision also flouts the spirit of Italy’s constitution which considers all to be equal in the eyes of the law.

Well, it turns out that some are more equal than others.  Italy’s parliament appears to be a kind of safe haven for criminals.  It certainly could be – owing to insidious electoral laws, Italy’s population has virtually no control over who obtains a seat in Italy’s parliament.  A referendum should, and hopefully will, take place to change this wholly unacceptable situation and signatures are being collected now: Anti-Porcellum referendum bid.

Marco Milanese, who recently suspended himself from Berlusconi’s PdL party, was also Italy’s Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti’s right hand man. Milanese has denied any wrong doing, although evidently the arrest warrant that would have been issued today shows that others do not believe him.

This is a bad day for Italy.  It is a bad day for Europe – maybe even for the world.

Perhaps the time has come for international pressure to be brought to bear on Italy.

Berlusconi needs to be retired or you may lose your job.

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