Italian deputies in fist fight over reforms

ROME Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:02am EDT

ROME (Reuters) - Italian deputies exchanged blows in parliament on Wednesday as tensions over a tough economic reform program came to a head.

At least two deputies from the Northern League, a member of the ruling center-right coalition, fought with members from the opposition FLI party of speaker Gianfranco Fini. Two deputies grabbed each other by the throat as other parliamentarians rushed to separate them.

The parliamentary sitting was suspended for several minutes after the fight, which broke out because of sarcastic remarks on television by Fini alleging that the wife of League leader Umberto Bossi had retired at 39.

Bossi has steadfastly refused to make more than slight concessions to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on the League's objections to changing Italy's generous pension system as part of reforms demanded by European leaders.

Berlusconi will travel to Brussels on Wednesday with a letter of intent on reforms to boost stagnant growth and cut Italy's debt. [ID:nL5E7LQ0OI] But critics, including senior Italian bankers say firmer and more substantive undertakings are required.

"There is a climate of violence and intolerance," said Amedeo Ciccanti from the centrist UDC party. "We need to calm down because Italians are more irritated than us about this."

(Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Catherine Hornby and Mark Heinrich)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (23)
RosAnders wrote:
Ah, sweet civility!

Oct 26, 2011 12:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DrBobNM wrote:
the Italians are hot blooded, their country is on life support. I find it hopeful that they are at each others throats. They care!

Oct 26, 2011 12:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Celador2 wrote:
Reform is the only option. I hope the realistic outcomes today are still realistic tomorrow. Not paying pensions is a sign the leaders are incompetent and not to be trusted. At some point people know they must trust elected officials. But when those officials mismangae the funds the banks take over the sovereign debt and sovereignty itself.

Oct 26, 2011 12:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.