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Calenda presents Azione-IV programme

Draghi PM, PD will team back up with M5S after vote says ex-min

(ANSA) - ROME, AUG 18 - Former industry minister Carlo Calenda on Thursday presented the September 25 general election programme of the 'third pole' alliance between his centrist Azione (Action) party and the centrist Italia Viva (IV) party of former premier and former centre-left Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi.
    The two main planks of the platform are persuading outgoing premier Mario Draghi, the former European central banker, to stay on as prime minister and to help him keep implementing reforms to qualify for the remaining billions of the huge EU-funded post COVID National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
    Draghi, who was brought down by a revolt by three populist parties in his national unity government last month, has said he has no intention of carrying on as premier.
    Calenda, who leads the Azione-IV alliance as its premiership candidate, unveiled the manifesto alongside outgoing ministers Mara Carfagna (South) and Mariastella Gelmini (regional affairs), who left Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) party after the anti-Draghi rebellion, and another outgoing minister, the IV's Elena Bonetti (equal opportunities).
    Among the third pole's other electoral proposals are slashing all maternity costs for businesses and bringing back vouchers for carers and other domestic assistants.
    IV bigwig Maria Elena Boschi also said the alliance agreed with Berlusconi that acquittals should not be appealable by prosecutors, a proposal that caused controversy when the scandal-plagued former three-time premier and media mogul made it Wednesday.
    Calenda predicted that the PD, which split with the 5-Star Movement (M5S) after M5S leader and former premier Giuseppe Conte started the ball roling on the anti-Draghi revolt, would patch things up and get back together with the populist party after the elections, which the centre right is projected to win.
    The former industry minister also said "the doors are always open" to moderates who are running for the PD and its allies like economist Carlo Cottarelli, former foreign minister, Radical leader and European commissioner Emma Bonino, and former trade unionist Marco Bentivogli. (ANSA).


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