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Tensions over economic reform lead to blows at Parliament in Rome

You don't see this every day.

Reuters reports:

At least two deputies from the Northern League, a member of the ruling center-right coalition, fought with members from the opposition FLI party of speaker Gianfranco Fini. Two deputies grabbed each other by the throat as other parliamentarians rushed to separate them.

The parliamentary sitting was suspended for several minutes after the fight, which broke out because of sarcastic remarks on television by Fini alleging that the wife of League leader Umberto Bossi had retired at 39.

Bossi has steadfastly refused to make more than slight concessions to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on the League's objections to changing Italy's generous pension system as part of reforms demanded by European leaders.

"There is a climate of violence and intolerance," said Amedeo Ciccanti from the centrist UDC party. "We need to calm down because Italians are more irritated than us about this." Full story.

According to the Washington Post a deal was reached.

Pressed hard by the EU, Premier Silvio Berlusconi averted a government collapse and reached a deal with allies on emergency growth measures in time for an EU summit on saving the euro.

Berlusconi and Northern League leader Umberto Bossi reached a compromise on raising Italy’s retirement age in late-night parliament talks Tuesday. Continue reading...