Golden pension for no-show politician's widow

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Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo, Sicily, where the island's Regional Parliament is based. Photo: Dzhingarova/Flickr
13:54 CET+01:00
Sicily's regional parliament is paying a €1,000 a month pension to the widow of a former lawmaker who never took his seat in the assembly, officials confirmed Friday.

Before his death at the end of January, Franco Bisignano collected a total of €350,000 in pension payments despite never having done a day's work on behalf of his supposed constituents on the Italian island.

Bisignano fought the 1976 election in Messina for the far-right MSI party. He lost but challenged the winner's eligibility to stand on residence grounds.

Italy's snail-paced judicial system finally produced a definitive ruling on the case 20 years after the election and Bisignano was retrospectively declared the rightful winner. By then it was too late for him actually to take up his seat but the ruling gave him the right to a pension worth the equivalent of €1,800 a month.

The residual benefits have now been passed on to his widow, the assembly's accounts department confirmed to AFP.

The case is one of many that have become emblematic of the self-serving nature of the country's political class, although Sicily has taken steps to curb abuses.

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Reforms in the 1980s linked former elected officials' pensions to the time served in the assembly and capped them in the event of the individuals having other retirement income sources.

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