Some context. Giorgia Meloni, leader of Brothers of Italy and slated to become Italy’s first-ever female PM, is showing the nation – and her political allies – that she is unwilling to compromise and will create a government, whatever it takes.
- Whether she’s bluffing or not, tensions and uncertainty in the country, sparked by skyrocketing energy bills and inflation woes, are unlikely to vanish anytime soon…
- … and the biggest threats in creating the next government come from her allies.
Trouble on the horizon. Leaked audio from Forza Italia’s Silvio Berlusconi – in which he discusses his allegedly rekindled relationship with Vladimir Putin – has made waves. The party rejected this reconstruction and later reasserted its Atlanticist positioning.
- Former PM Giuseppe Conte, who leads the Five Star Movement, commented, “I was not present, and I am glad.” Still, on this occasion, he successfully dodged any reference to Mr Putin or Russia.
Conflicting views re: Ukraine. In the audio, Mr Berlusconi also said that the conflict would become global if NATO were to enter the war and that Russian ministers commented that, by providing weapons and financing to Ukraine, Italy is, in effect, already at war with them.
- The newly-elected Speaker of the Lower House, the League’s Lorenzo Fontana, added fuel to the fire by casting doubts on sanctions and their “boomerang effect” on Italy’s economy.
- Ms Meloni has been clear: she openly supports Kyiv, including military aid (even though, according to her detractors, it’s a political calculus to win approval in Brussels and polish her Atlanticist credentials).
The bottom line: political analysts drew a parallel between those who brought down Mario Draghi’s government and what is happening now – namely, the obstacles on the path to Ms Meloni’s new government.
- One would be amiss not to specify those parties were the most pro-Russian forces in the fold.
- The cooling of relations between Moscow and Rome “began with [PM] Draghi’s arrival,” noted the Russian Ambassador to Italy, Sergey Razov, via Tass
Between a rock and a hard place. That’s where Italy is now, faced with tough choices stemming from inflation, through-the-roof energy prices, and the uncertainty originating from the Russian war in Ukraine.
- It remains to be seen who in the Italian political scene will be responsible for sabotaging the government – if only, like Nero, to watch the government burn.