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People show banners reading "hands off from poors" outside Italy's Parliament on Aug.11, 2011, ahead of Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti's address. Italy outlined plans for "very strong" budget cuts next year including an increase in taxes on investment accounts and cuts in social welfare. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
People show banners reading "hands off from poors" outside Italy's Parliament on Aug.11, 2011, ahead of Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti's address. Italy outlined plans for "very strong" budget cuts next year including an increase in taxes on investment accounts and cuts in social welfare. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Berlusconi ally fears attack on government Add to ...

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s main coalition partner on Thursday accused the European Central Bank of trying to bring down Italy’s government with a letter it sent last week demanding major economic reforms and budget cuts.

Umberto Bossi, leader of the powerful Northern League party, said the letter, which the government has confirmed receiving but which it has so far refused to make public, appeared to be politically motivated.

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“I fear the letter was written in Rome,” he said. “I fear there is an attempt to bring down the government.”

He seemed to be referring to Bank of Italy governor Mario Draghi, who will succeed ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet this year and who was previously widely seen as the potential head of a temporary technocrat government.

“Draghi, instead of being in Europe, is always in Rome,” he said.

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