Italian premier, president clash over Eluana Englaro case


Italy’s government released an emergency decree Friday to prevent a woman who has been in comatose for 17 years from having her life support system cut off, but the president refused to sign it.

The Council of Ministers, led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, unanimously approved a decree forbidding doctors to withhold food from Eluana Englaro in spite of final victory in the courts by her father.

“I will do everything I can to save her life,” Berlusconi said at a news conference. “Eluana is alive, and she could have children.”

“We have to do everything possible to stop a person from dying,” he said on government television.

But President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign the decree, saying it was unconstitutional.

Ms. Englaro, 38, has been in a constant vegetative state following a car accident in 1992. Her father has been battling with the courts in Italy to let her die since 1999, insisting it was her wish.

On Sunday, the Vatican intervened indirectly in the case, saying euthanasia was a “false solution” to suffering that wasn’t worthy of humans.

Watch the video: Italian PM vow to keep comatose woman alive