Italy’s financial elite is working with elements of the left-wing opposition to overthrow Silvio Berlusconi’s government, a prominent Cabinet minister said today.
“There are irresponsible elites that are preparing a full blown coup d’etat,” Public Administration minister Renato Brunetta told the pro-government daily Il Giornale.
Mr Brunetta, known for his outspoken remarks, did not name names, but said he was referring to “parasites” who populated Italian finance, publishing and bureaucracy and were using the left-wing opposition as a “taxi” to try to seize power.
“They are already planning it, this summer there were meetings and they even drew up a list of ministers and a government programme,” he told the newspaper owned by Mr Berlusconi’s brother.
The “elites” aimed to replace Mr Berlusconi with a government made up of unelected technical experts whose real task would be to defend their own wealth and power, said Mr Brunetta, whose drive to improve public sector efficiency have made him one of Mr Berlusconi’s most high profile and popular ministers.”
Leaders of the opposition Democratic Party dismissed Mr Brunetta’s comments as “vulgar,” “populist” and “delirious”.
Mr Berlusconi has been hit by a spate of scandals surrounding his private life in recent months, including allegations that a businessman paid women to sleep with him. His wife announced in May that she wanted a divorce over his womanising.
A poll published last week put the 72-year-old media tycoon’s approval rating at 47 per cent, still high by the standards of many European leaders, but down from 49 per cent in July and 60 percent a year ago. (Reuters)