Rome (Italy), Sep.9 (ANI): Civil war has broken out in the ranks of the Italian Government after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's mouthpiece newspaper attacked his main political ally, calling him "ridiculous" and a tool of the Left.
The battleground was once again the front page of Il Giornale, the Berlusconi family newspaper. Its new editor ran a diatribe against Gianfranco Fini, the Speaker of the lower house of parliament.
Enraged Fini supporters, opposition politicians and commentators have, as a result, predicted the "beginning of the end" of Berlusconi's reign.
In the article, "Comrade Fini" was accused of failing to support the Prime Minister over the continuing sex scandal allegations, and instead siding with the Left on issues from immigration and gay rights to euthanasia.
"You are being used by the Left," thundered Editor Vittorio Feltri, addressing Fini directly.
"Turn back to the Right, otherwise you risk becoming even more ridiculous than you have often appeared in recent times," Feltri said.
Fini, 57, is the former leader of Alleanza Nazionale, the "post-Fascist" party that merged with Berlusconi's Forza Italia to form the ruling People of Liberty (PdL) party.
He is viewed as a potential successor to the Prime Minister, who turns 73 at the end of the month
Berlusconi immediately tried to smooth things over, declaring that "everything is fine with Fini - there are no tensions".
According to The Times, he claimed he had been unaware of the attack and disassociated himself from it. (ANI)