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Not far from the place of the drama, flowers pay homage to the 43 dead of the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa. REUTERS / Massimo Pinca

This Wednesday, August 14, Italy commemorates the first anniversary of the collapse of a motorway bridge in Genoa. A disaster that left 43 dead. However, the ceremony is disrupted by the political crisis triggered by Matteo Salvini, leader of the League (far right), which broke the ruling coalition.

In Italy, the protagonists of the unprecedented political crisis of mid-August are meeting in Genoa for the commemorations of the first anniversary of the collapse of the Morandi bridge on August 14, 2018. The president will be present in the capital of Liguria. Sergio Mattarella, who alone has the power to dissolve the Parliament and call elections, Interior Minister Salvini who claims them since August 8 and his former government ally Luigi Di Maio, leader of the Movement 5 Stars (M5S, antisystem), as well as the head of government, Giuseppe Conte, and several ministers.

" A minute of meditation "

" I invite all citizens of Genoa to participate in the ceremony in memory of the victims of Morandi Bridge. And I ask those who can not participate, to observe a minute of meditation, wherever they are, at 11:36 ", (time the bridge collapsed) launched the Mayor of the city Marco Bucci. The commemorations include a mass to be celebrated by the Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, speeches by the mayor, the head of government and representatives of the families of the victims, a minute of silence and the city will ring the bells of churches Genoa will join the sirens of the port.

The ceremony is held almost below the site where the bridge collapsed, a few dozen meters from where a pile of the new bridge begins to appear, which should be completed next spring, officials said. " I hope that this government crisis will not lead to slowdowns in the realization of this important infrastructure, " Federico Romeo, mayor of the district where the drama took place, told AFP.

The new bridge will be built by a group of several Italian companies from a project by Renzo Piano, the famous Italian architect born in Genoa. Renzo Piano, author of among others the Center Pompidou and the new Palais de Justice in Paris, proposed a drawing of bridge that will have " something of a boat, because it is something of Genoa ", and " it will be a finer bridge, which will have a brightness to him, "in his own words.

While waiting for a new bridge essential to a rapid crossing of this metropolis of more than 580 000 inhabitants, the legal battle around the one that collapsed is in full swing. On the one hand the main defendant, the company Autostrade per l'Italia (ASPI), manager of this road viaduct and property of the Benetton family, on the other side the families of the victims and many politicians, mainly of the M5S, who consider the collapse as the consequence of poor maintenance and accuse ASPI of having privileged its profits to the detriment of security.

The bridge " could no longer stand up "

" The Morandi Bridge ", named after the architect who designed it in the 1960s, " collapsed because it was no longer able to stand up, " the Genoa prosecutor Francesco Cozzi recently summarized. The lawsuit or lawsuits are announced as a titanic enterprise: 71 people surveyed, including leaders of Benetton Group companies and officials of various administrations, more than 100 lawyers, 120 judicial experts, 75 witnesses and tons of documents and physical evidence.

The bridge case is one of the issues that has poisoned the League-M5S relationship. The latter urgently wanted to remove the concessions that ASPI enjoyed, even if they then curbed the risk, in case of breach of contracts, of expensive compensation claims, while the League, close to industrial circles in the north, has always remained cautious.

( with AFP )