The extreme right took a step forward Regarding the formation of the new Italian government, voting this Thursday for an exponent of Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), Ignazio La Russa, as the new president of the Senate. While the Chamber of Deputies, which also began to meet on Thursday, after three votes failed to elect its president but most likely will do so on Friday.
La Russa has been vice president of the Senate until now but also Defense Minister during the last Berlusconi government (2008-2011) and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies (1994-1996). He was also president of two far-right parties, Fratelli d’Italia and Alianza Nacional.
There have been days of long and frequent discussions since the September 25 elections. The ultra-right allies (Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia and Matteo Salvini’s League) and center-right (Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia) who won the elections could not agree on who should be president of the two chambers. but above all about future ministers of the presumed government of Meloni, whose party qualified in first place in the elections with 26% of the votes.
And the election of La Russa was the best example of the disputes that the right-wing alliance still maintains internally. Forza Italia, one of the allies, did not vote in favor of La Russa but instead members of other parties did, which made it possible to elect the new president in the first ballot.
Once the president of the House is elected, the new Parliament could start discussing issues that are considered urgent such as the Balance Law (where the entrances and exits of the state are foreseen for the next year) and the Pnrr, the National Recovery Plan that must be presented to the European Union in order to enjoy its economic contributions. Both must be approved by Parliament, although they will have to wait for the constitution of the new government to have their participation and consensus.
In the elections of September 25, the new Senate was reduced by half its components (from 315 to 200) and also the Chamber of Deputies (from 630 to 400), which reduced the consistent amount of funds that the state should normally allocate to Parliament to pay their salaries and expenses. In those elections, the right-wing alliance won a majority in both Chambers (235 deputies out of a total of 400 and 112 senators out of a total of 200).
The other issue still unresolved and on which the allies continue to discuss are the names of the future ministers who will work alongside the presumed prime minister Meloni.
It is not clear when Meloni could take office because according to Italian law, the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, will begin to consult with the senators and deputies of the different parties to get a more precise idea about the candidate who could be acceptable as the first Minister. Although everything seems to indicate that since she is the head of the most voted party and her alliance has a majority in Parliament, Melons it has a good chance of being. It is said that could receive on Monday from the hands of the president the task of forming a government.
As for the ministers, the discussions are not over. Salvini apparently wants his party to have at least four ministries, including Regional Affairs and Autonomy. But above all he would like the Ministry of the Interior for himself as well as the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies for one of his supporters, Riccardo Molinari. About the Interior portfolio, Meloni would not agree. On the other hand, the leader of Fratelli d’Italia for some ministries such as the Economy, she has said that she would prefer to put technicians and not politicians.
Berlusconi for his part demands to be treated the same as La Liga given that his party, Forza Italia, got more or less the same amount of votes than Salvini’s in the September elections. And in terms of ministers, he claims for himself at least the Ministry of Justice.
Berlusconi returns to the Senate
Present at the vote in the Senate was the now senator and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was dethroned from his position in the Senate in 2013, accused (later tried and convicted) of fiscal fraud. The 2013 sentence sentenced him to four years in prison for tax fraud. It was the first sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court of Italy among the more than 30 trials that the former “Cavaliere” or “Knight of the State” (distinction granted by the President of the Republic to people who distinguished in their works but that was suppressed because of the sentence). The justice condemned him for being considerate the “creator” of the tax evasion system set up by Mediaset, a Berlusconi family company that buys television rights around the world. But, curiously, the four years in prison, as a result of certain previous pardons, were actually reduced to one year. A year that he fulfilled doing a social service, going once a week to a nursing home.
“I have no spirit of revenge,” Berlusconi told reporters after being elected in September. I know that I suffered injustices but the Italians have amply compensated me with their affection and the consensus that they have never failed to show me”.
And after 9 years, he has returned to Parliament.
The uncertain future of the left
For the center left of Italy, led by the Democratic party, the advance of the right has been a beating that not many expected. And it ended up putting the party in serious crisis, some of whose internal tendencies speak of the urgent need for several changes or even a “revolution” and even a name change.
After the results, the general secretary Enrico Letta he said he would resign and not stand again as a candidate to lead the party. Letta, graduated in International Law, has been prime minister (2013-2014) and minister several times, as well as a university professor in Paris.
Letta and other party leaders decided to hold a constituent congress, which takes time because the local assemblies should be consulted and then hold the great national congress. There is talk of the need for a “profound change in the party” to be able to make a serious opposition to the right-wing government and for that, a whole new leadership group is required where young people and women have their weight. In the coming months, all this will be discussed in the different local assemblies that will then send their decisions to the national congress where they will be voted on.