INTRODUCTION: The Italian parliament voted on Thursday (10 March) to send two former Defence Ministers to trial by the constitutional court for their alleged role in the Lockheed scandal.
INTRODUCTION: The Italian parliament voted on Thursday (10 March) to send two former Defence Ministers to trial by the constitutional court for their alleged role in the Lockheed scandal. Politicians in several countries have been accused of accepting bribes from the United States' Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. The two former Italian ministers are Senator Luigi Gui, a Christian Democrat, and Signor Mario Tanassi, a Social Democratic member of the chamber of deputies.
SYNOPSIS: According to Reuters News Agency the unprecedented decision, at a tense joint session of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, appears certain to embitter relations between the ruling Christian Democrats and other parties including Communists and Socialists.
Signor Gui and Signor Tanassi both served as Defence Ministers during negotiations with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation for the sale of fourteen C-130 Hercules transport planes in 1969 and 1970. Speaking before the vote was taken Signor Aldo Moro, a professor of law, five times Prime Minister and now Christian Democrat Party President, rejected allegations that his party had been responsible for corruption during is three decades in power.
Signor Gui and Signor Tanassi have denied allegations that they were among officials who took bribes totalling two million dollars (1,200,000 pounds sterling) from Lockheed in return for recommending the purchase of the aircraft. Parliamentarians voted by dropping black and white plastic balls into urns and only a simple majority was required.
Parliament also voted to send the other nine accused people all --non-political figures -- to trial on Lockheed-related charges. According to the leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the debate became at times a trial of the Christian Democrat party, which has ruled Italy without a break for more than 30 years. Under Premier Giulio Andreotti's minority government, the Christian Democrats and Communists have been cooperating on ways of getting legislation through parliament. But the decision in the Lockheed case had now driven them farther apart, the newspaper said. Premier Andreotti needs the Collaboration of the other parties to push through austerity measures to solve the country's economic crisis.