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Is right-wing coalition of Meloni’s Fratelli party and Lega and Forza already showing first cracks?

In the end, Giorgia Meloni did not leave former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the chair of the Upper House. She put her close ally Ignazio La Russa at the head of the Senate to demonstrate her political strength.

Following the right-wing’s election victory on Sept. 25, Italy’s new parliament opened Thursday.

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This is the first step toward forming the new government, which right-wing Giorgia Meloni will lead.

Giorgia Meloni and Silvio Berlusconi. (Photo internet reproduction)
Giorgia Meloni and Silvio Berlusconi. (Photo internet reproduction)

However, the right-wing coalition of Meloni’s Fratelli party and the Lega (Salvini) and Forza (Berlusconi) parties may already show some cracks.

While the informal preliminary agreement between the three right-wing leaders was that Matteo Salvini would take over the Interior Ministry (the second most important portfolio in the country after the prime minister) and Silvio Berlusconi the Senate presidency, Meloni now seems to want to fill these critical positions with her people.

The internal argument is that Fratelli almost tripled the votes of Salvini and Berlusconi, and the Roman believes that representatives of his party should fill all the top positions in the new government.

The vote in the new composition’s first session of the Senate elected Meloni’s strongman Ignazio Benito La Russa after Fratelli refused to choose Berlusconi for the post.

La Russa was Berlusconi’s defense minister and had been vice president of the Senate since 2018.

For their part, Forza senators decided not to vote, outraged by the distribution of offices and ministries, and denounced Meloni’s refusal to govern in a coalition that recognizes the merits of its members.

La Russa was elected with 116 votes in favor, while 65 votes were not cast.

Because the vote was secret, it is unknown exactly which parties voted in favor and which abstained.

However, Berlusconi denounced that La Russa was elected with the support of senators from former Socialist Prime Minister Mateo Renzi, who wanted to prevent Berlusconi’s return to power at all costs.

The right-wing coalition will be tested again this Friday when the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies is elected, a vote that will also determine whether Meloni receives enough support to form a government with the right-wing parties that won the election.

Matteo Salvini, who led the right wing in the last election but lost all his support to Meloni in this round, proposed his associate Lorenzo Fontana as the new speaker of the lower house.

Still, there is speculation that Meloni will also try to place a Fratelli member.

Meloni won with 26% of the vote, which gives him the right to lead the negotiations, but Berlusconi is demanding the same treatment as Salvini, as both are at about 8%.

Suppose a consensus candidate between Salvini and Meloni heads the Chamber of Deputies.

In that case, Berlusconi could withdraw his support for the right-wing coalition in protest at the lack of representation in the legislature in the presidential election, triggering a major political crisis in Italy if it is not possible to form a government.

With information from Derecha Diario

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