Italy’s far-right leader is prepared to govern despite the Putin scandal.

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By Creative Media News

Giorgia Meloni and her coalition allies have met with President Sergio Mattarella and declared their readiness to form a government “as soon as feasible.”

In the coming hours, he will ask Ms. Meloni to become prime minister.

Ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attended the brief meetings, despite his reported pro-Putin remarks having shaken the coalition’s unity.

Ms. Meloni has endeavored to reassure Italy’s Western allies that nothing will alter.

The leader of the Brothers of Italy could be sworn in as the country’s first female prime minister and first far-right leader since World War II as early as this weekend. She stated that her coalition of right-wing and far-right parties was unequivocal in its support for her as Italy’s leader.

Italy's far-right leader is prepared to govern despite the putin scandal.
Italy's far-right leader is prepared to govern despite the putin scandal.

Ahead of Friday’s 11-minute meeting, she stated that they were “ready to provide Italy a government that addresses the urgency and problems of our time with understanding and competence.”

She will replace Mario Draghi, who was scheduled to return from the EU summit on Friday, less than a month after Italians elected a new Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

Ms. Meloni was joined at the presidential palace by Matteo Salvini of the far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi, the 86-year-old leader of the center-right Forza Italia, who has been at the center of a controversy for days over two leaked tapes highlighting his pro-Putin sentiments.

In the first audio leak, he was heard bragging that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent him 20 bottles of vodka for his birthday and named him his “number one best friend”

Then, in a speech leaked to party colleagues, he supported Russia’s excuse for its war, unjustifiably blaming Ukraine’s government and the West for pushing the Kremlin into an attack.

He claims that his comments were taken out of context and that he supports the Italian and European Union’s stance on Ukraine. However, his pro-Putin remarks are nothing new: last month, he told Italian television that Putin only intended to replace Volodymyr Zelensky with “a government of respectable people.”

Govern despite putin row
Italy's far-right leader is prepared to govern despite the putin scandal.

The revelations increased pressure on Giorgia Meloni, 45. Her other far-right supporter, League leader Matteo Salvini, has also long been viewed as a Putin admirer, but Ms. Meloni needs both men to establish a majority alliance.

Antonio Tajani, a major Berlusconi figure who aims to become the incoming government’s foreign minister, reminded his center-right counterparts in Brussels that his party and its leader were pro-NATO and opposed to the “unacceptable Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, an assistant to the Ukrainian president, stated on Twitter that while Mr. Berlusconi was sipping Russian vodka, Giorgia Meloni was exhibiting what true morals were.

In the weeks since her nationalist, anti-immigration Brothers of Italy party won the September elections with 26% of the vote, Ms. Meloni has squabbled with Forza Italia and the League for the top government positions. The two smaller parties each garnered a little over 8% of the vote.

Mr. Berlusconi’s party refused to approve Ignazio La Russa as speaker of the Italian Senate, and the head of the center-right sent a note criticizing Ms. Meloni as overbearing and haughty.

Despite Ms. Meloni’s efforts to appear reasonable, the new Senate speaker is a co-founder of her party and a collector of Benito Mussolini memorabilia. The origins of the Brothers of Italy can be traced back to the post-war neo-fascist movement in Italy.

Mr. La Russa met with the president first on Thursday, followed by Lorenzo Fontana, the new speaker of the lower chamber. The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies is a member of the far-right League and, in 2018, described Vladimir Putin as “a shining light even for us in the West.

Later, President Mattarella met with leaders of the Italian opposition parties.

Enrico Letta, the leader of the center-left, stated that the opinions of both Mr. Berlusconi and the next speaker, Mr. Carlo Calenda, leader of the centrist party, were likewise deeply concerned about the ex-prime minister’s pro-Putin remarks.

Given the size of the right-wing majorities in both the House and Senate, a vote of confidence next week is considered a formality if Ms. Meloni and her new administration are sworn in over the weekend.

Her initial responsibility will be to assist Italians with financing energy expenditures. She has also alarmed the LGBT community with her attacks on the “LGBT lobby” and same-sex parenting, and by advocating a naval blockade of Libya to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean.

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