A heated debate on pension reform turned physical when a fistfight broke out in Italy’s lower house of parliament yesterday. The debate had to be temporary suspended as at least two lawmakers from opposing parties exchanged blows and had to be separated with their hands around each other’s throats.
The fistfight was supposedly spurred by comments made by House Speaker Gianfranco Fini, cofounder of Berlusconi's party PDL, who got out of the coalition in September 2010.
While discussing on TV the position of the Nothern League, the government’s main coalition partner, against raising pension age to 67, Fini remarked that the wife of Umberto Bossi, head of the Northen League, retired at 39.
A crisis was finally averted on Wednesday when Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi convinced the Nothern League to agree in principle to plans to raise Italy’s pension age to 67.
Berlusconi has been under pressure to come up with a measurable debt reduction to appease EU partners.