Parliament votes to scrap Vitalizi pension scheme
ROME- Centre-left and opposition parties celebrated the abolition of the Vitalizi pension scheme for Italian MPs on Thursday after a dramatic parliamentary vote.
After 24 hours of debate in the Chamber of Deputies, 348 MPs voted in favour of scrapping Vitalizi pensions, whereas only 17 MPs voted against. Vitalizi pensions were more generous that ordinary State pensions and were accrued by politicians after only one term in office; it was viewed unfair by many due to this short time requirement.
Despite both parties being in favour of the abolishment, the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Democratic Party (PD) clashed during the debate prior to the vote. The anti-establishment M5S accusing the PD of obstructionism for pushing back the scheduled time of vote, whereas the later complained about the length of M5S politician’s speeches and claimed they were doing the same thing. However, at the evening vote, the bill proposed by PD politician Matteo Richetti received support from his Democratic Party, the Five Star Movement, the Brothers of Italy, the Northern League and Possible. The Centre-Left’s proposal united the left-wing and anti-establishment parties, both on the left and right. On the other hand, Forza Italia, headed by Silvio Berlusconi, branded the bill “unconstitutional” and did not participate in the vote, in anticipation that it will be rejected by the Senate.
“It’s an enormous satisfaction that we dedicate to all Italians oppressed by these politicians who have made a social butchery of the population”, said Alessandro Di Battista during a toast with his MS5 collegues in the parliament bar, “Let’s drink to a step taken for the Italian population”. Leader of the Northern League, Matteo Salvini, celebrated the “beautiful day”.
Parliamentary Head of the PD, Ettore Rosato, said “we have done an important thing” without resorting to “anti-politics”.
Matteo Renzi, PD secretary, spoke during a PD event in Brescia and addressed the cross-party conflict. He reminded the audience that “the Vitalizi proposal was Richetti’s. The M5S are all talk but then don’t follow through”. This referred the M5S celebrating the bill as their success. In rhetoric prior to yesterday’s vote, they applauded their fight against the political ‘caste’ for having advanced the proposal as far as it had. Richetti responded to State broadcaster RAI: “the M5S votes are welcome but the Vitalizi battle belongs to the PD”.
The vote by the Italian Chamber of Deputies is a stepping stone for the proposal. The bill will be passed to the Italian Senate and must be voted through by them before coming into effect.