Politi­cians of­fer cure for co­caine-fu­eled hooker par­ties: A big raise

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By John Phillips

ROME — Italy’s Chris­tian Democrats are de­mand­ing ex­tra pay so they can visit their wives and com­bat the lone­li­ness that they say drove one par­lia­men­tar­ian to bed two call girls in a scan­dal rock­ing Rome’s po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment.

Cosimo Mele, 50, re­signed from the op­po­si­tion Union of Chris­tian Demo­crat Cen­trists (UDC) last week af­ter ad­mit­ting that a young wo­man had taken ill in his bed­room at the swanky Flora Ho­tel on the tourist-famed Via Veneto on July 27, ev­i­dently from a drug over­dose.

The af­fair ou­traged many Ital­ians be­cause the UDC cham­pi­ons fam­ily val­ues and has cam­paigned for stricter drug laws.

Mr. Mele ac­knowl­edged that the wo­man, iden­ti­fied only as Francesca Z., was a pros­ti­tute but said he was in­tro­duced to her by friends and ini­tially he had not re­al­ized her pro­fes­sion.

Francesca told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that Mr. Mele gave her co­caine, and po­lice were ques­tion­ing the sec­ond wo­man, ju­di­cial sources said.

On Aug. 1, UDC leader Pier Fer­di­nando Casini had a mo­bile lab­o­ra­tory set up in front of the Mon­tecito­rio par­lia­ment, where leg­is­la­tors were in­vited to pro­vide blood and urine sam­ples to prove that they are drug-free.

More than 100 deputies took part in what many com­men­ta­tors de­scribed as staged po­lit­i­cal theater.

Mr. Mele showed scant re­morse for his ad­ven­ture de­spite be­ing mar­ried with three chil­dren and a fourth ex­pected soon.

“I did noth­ing other than go to din­ner with a friend who in­tro­duced me to this girl. Since it was late, she came to bed with me. How many politi­cians go to bed with young girls?” he said.

Asked whether he had paid for the en­counter, he told the Cor­riere della Sera news­pa­per: “Not re­ally. I made her a gift, a sum of money, but noth­ing ex­ces­sive.”

He said he had noth­ing to do with the other girl who had “taken drugs or some­thing else.”

He added: “Of course I rec­og­nize Chris­tian val­ues. But what has that got to do with go­ing with a prosti- tute? It is a per­sonal mat­ter.

“This af­fair has noth­ing to do with fam­ily val­ues. I can­not be branded a bad fa­ther and a bad hus­band sim­ply be­cause af­ter five or six days away from home, an oc­ca­sion pre­sented it­self.”

He said he had de­cided to re­sign from the UDC be­cause of the party’s tough stand on fam­ily val­ues.

Party sec­re­tary Lorenzo Cesa sug­gested that par­lia­men­tar­i­ans should re­ceive fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for fam­ily re­unions to help them ward off the temp­ta­tions of a lonely life in Rome.

“The life of a par­lia­men­tar­ian is tough; soli­tude is a very se­ri­ous prob­lem,” Mr. Cesa said. Not ev­ery­one was sym­pa­thetic. Carlo Gio­va­nardi, a lead­ing mem­ber of the party, said the UDC should im­prove its re­cruit­ment pol­icy.

“We can’t pro­claim our­selves the first in the class and then not be able to demon­strate it, ex­pos­ing our­selves to the facile hu­mor of our al­lies and ad­ver­saries,” he said.

Sil­vana Mura, a deputy with the pro-gov­ern­ment Italy of Val­ues party, was also scathing.

Mr. Cesa’s fam­ily re­union pro­posal was “frankly ris­i­ble,” she said.

Francesco Caruso, a leg­is­la­tor with the Com­mu­nist Re­foun­da­tion party, spoke of the “shame­less and alarm­ing hypocrisy of the UDC.”

The stag­ing of an­nounced drug tests elim­i­nates any el­e­ment of sur­prise, he said, and will sim­ply mean the “sus­pen­sion for two days of the sex-andcoke par­ties or­ga­nized by their friends and deputies in lux­ury ho­tels and on board their yachts off Naples.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

The po­lit­i­cal high life: Italy’s Union of Chris­tian Demo­crat Cen­trists leader Pier Fer­di­nando Casini on Aug. 1 took a drug test in a mo­bile unit where other leg­is­la­tors were in­vited to also take tests to prove they are drug-free.

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