Italian political leader threatens forcible rebellion against government

Monday, August 27, 2007

Italian politics were flamed on Sunday, August 26th, by a statement from Umberto Bossi, the leader of far-right party Northern League, who said during a rally in Ca' San Marco di Mezzoldo, north of Milan, “People of this region have never drawn out the rifles, but there's always a first time”. Bossi, who had been minister of reform from 2001 to 2006, during last days had repeatedly invited people to a tax revolt against the government.

The President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, issued immediately a public statement expressing “a strong call to moderation in Italian politics”. Several leftist politicians asked the leader of rightist coalition Silvio Berlusconi to distance from Bossi's statement but a representative of Berlusconi's party, Forza Italia, Fabrizio Cicchitto pointed out that “Bossi's language is usually strong and metaphorical". Similar comment came from former minister Maurizio Gasparri (now spokesman of party Alleanza Nazionale) who explained that Bossi "was speaking of verbal rifles".