(ro buk[I'm not there], luoghi invisibili)
[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - The Italian Government is more unstable after the Minister of Economic Development Claudio Scajola handed in his resignation this week.
The minister was accused by the Italian press (1) of having allegedly used 900,000 euros provived by Diego Anemone, a businessman now under arrest for the corruption scandal concerning the Italian Civil Defense (2), to complete the purchase of a house in front of the Colosseum in Rome in 2004, which he officially paid 600,000 euros (3).
Mr Scajola, who actually is not under investigation, denied any allegation and promised to defend himself, explaining that "A minister cannot suspect to live in a house partly paid by others" (4).
Yet his resignation represents a strong blow for the Italian Government. Not only did Claudio Scajola hold control of several key issues, such as the nuclear energy programme, but he was also a central figure within the People of Freedom.
Christian Democrat Mayor of Imperia from 1982 to 1983 and from 1990 to 1995, Claudio Scajola joined Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia in 1995, rapidly being appointed in charge of the organization of the party. Minister of Internal Affairs from 2001 to 2002, he coordinated the police during the G8 meeting in Genoa (5), and was then forced to resign owing to some inappropriate statements regarding Marco Biagi, a consultant for the Ministry of Labour assassinated by the Red Brigades (6).
His entourage being suddenly deprived of such an important figure, Silvio Berlusconi is probably beginning to consider the end of his era. Not only did his rival Gianfranco Fini refused to defend Claudio Scajola, but also Umberto Bossi - the leader of the Northern League - declared that "It is everyone's duty to defend lawfulness" (7).
While the issue of economic policy arises, the Italian Prime Minister looks more and more alone.
(1) Guy Dinmore, "Italian minister quits over corruption scandal" (guydinmore.wordpress.com).
(2) Nick Squires, "Police 'mega-galactic sex parties' inquiry" (telegraph.co.uk).
(3) Carlo Bonini and Francesco Viviano, "Perugia, gli 80 assegni che accusano Scajola" (repubblica.it).
(4) "Un ministro non può sospettare di abitare in una casa pagata in parte da altri" ("Scajola si dimette: 'Devo difendermi'. Berlusconi: 'Ha senso dello Stato', corriere.it).
(5) Giuliano Gallo, "Scajola: al G8 l'ordine era di sparare sui terroristi" (corriere.it).
(6) Dino Martirano, "Scorta negata a Biagi: lo sfogo di Scajola" (corriere.it).
(7) "E' un dovere di tutti tutelare il valore della legalità". ("Caso Scajola, Berlusconi grida al complotto. Fini e Bossi lo stoppano: 'Non è vero'", repubblica.it).