ROMA CAPITALE. “DAJE” to “KEEP CALM – UN CAZZO”: Italy government closes ranks around Rome mayor amid corruption probe, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, CANADA (07 December 2014).
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s party closed ranks around the mayor of Rome on Sunday amid an investigation into mafia corruption in the capital that has prompted opposition calls for him to resign.
Last week prosecutors in Rome arrested 37 people and put dozens of others under investigation for their involvement in a mafia-like system of corruption allegedly run by Rome’s former mayor, Gianni Alemanno.
Politicians from opposition parties, including Alemanno, and from Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) are under investigation for taking kickbacks in exchange for awarding city contracts to businesses run by the criminal gang.
Ignazio Marino, Rome’s centre-left mayor, who is not under investigation, has ordered a review of city contracts and a “rotation” of senior city administrators. The PD’s Marino has said he flagged discrepancies in city operations to police when he took over from Alemanno.
The three PD members caught up in the investigation have suspended their membership of the party, but that has not stopped the opposition from calling for Marino to step down or his administration to be dissolved by authorities.
Speaking in support of Marino, Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi, one of Renzi’s closest collaborators, said: “Marino must keep doing his job, he must govern the city, and he must do it well.
“We’re already trying to clear things up within our party, and I hope the other parties do the same,” she said in a television interview, adding there was no legal basis to disband the city government.
Alemanno, a right-wing politician who served as mayor between 2008 and June last year, denies any wrongdoing, as do the three PD officials implicated so far.
Thirty-nine-year-old Renzi took power in February. Often called the “scrapper” because of his campaign to replace old PD figure heads with new and younger faces, the scandal undermines his efforts to portray his PD as a break with the past.
Renzi’s undersecretary, Graziano Del Rio, also backed Marino in a newspaper interview on Sunday. On Friday, Renzi said the scandal was “disgusting” and called on prosecutors to get to the bottom of it. (Editing by Rosalind Russell).
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— Rome – Italy government closes ranks around Rome mayor amid corruption probe, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, CANADA (07 December 2014).
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