Correspondent in Rome
The unification of the Italian center-right takes an important step: Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini they reach an agreement to stand together in the next elections, merging Forza Italia and the League. After many years of unsuccessfully searching for a political heir, former Prime Minister and Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi at 84 years old, when he is already in the twilight of his political career, he has found a successor. This is the former Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini (48), leader of the League.
Berlusconi’s two oldest sons, who are at the helm of his economic empire, agree, as do some of the most influential leaders of his Mediaset group. The former prime minister agrees with his family on the advisability of ceder el cetro de Forza Italia to Salvini, to merge with the League, because this initiative will also benefit their companies.
Not all leaders agree to join the League to form a single party. But the Cavaliere’s decision is firm, as pointed out by various Italian media.
This is what Berlusconi told Salvini on Sunday night, after a demonstration by the League last weekend, in Rome, in support of a referendum with six questions on justice, with the aim of reforming it.
The dialogue between Berlusconi and Salvini, held at the former prime minister’s residence in Arcore (Milan), where he is still recovering from the aftermath of the Covid, was a decisive step in the merger of their parties, with the indication in practice of considering the Leader of the League as his political heir: «I liked it very much – Berluscon told him – your demonstration, all red in blue, moderate, and on justice you are my heir. This is the Italy that is needed to move the country forward, people without shackles on their heads, who work and want to build. Dear Matteo, this is a great town to which we must give a great united party ».
Salvini’s response, according to the reconstruction made by the Italian media of the meeting of both leaders in Arcore, pleased the leader of Forza Italia: «President, the existence of this moderate and hard-working Italy is owed to you, we will take it to the government in 2023». In March of that year, the five years of the Italian legislature will be completed. By then, Salvini and Berlusconi hope that Mario Draghi be the President of the Republic.
The La Liga leader has recently increased his efforts to achieve the unity of the parties of the right, because it sees its leadership jeopardized by the growing advance of Brothers of Italy (Brothers of Italy), led by Giorgia Meloni, who is already on his heels in the polls.
A unwritten pact Among the forces of the center right, it has established that, if they win the elections – the polls give them a clear victory if there were elections today – the leader of the most voted party would be prime minister. Given its growing electoral consensus, Gieorgia Meloni she could become the first Italian woman to chair the Italian government. Matteo Salvini would have liked that this unitary train of the center-right had also gotten on the Brothers of Italy, the only party that is not part of the government of national unity chaired by Mario Draghi.
Being the only major opposition force, Giorgia Meloni is favored politically, already figuring in some polls as the second party, almost in the 20% in voting intention, tied with the Democratic Party, and less than two points behind the League. For its part, Forza Italia is below 8%.
Opposition by Giorgia Meloni
Meloni is currently opposed to the Federation of the center-right parties, but Matteo Salvini will continue with his proposal, which he reiterated at the weekend’s demonstration: “After the coronavirus, politics has a duty to unite, be fast, concrete and effective. Italians ask us for this, not divisions and fights. I ask all the friends of the center right to join us to help Italy and the Italians, leaving jealousy, selfishness, divisions aside ”, with“ a founding pact of common values ”putting“ especially freedom ”at the center.
In short, Matteo Salvini will have to wait until 2023 to see his wish to liderar all center right. And, of course, he is not guaranteed that on that date he will be the head of the Italian government, if by then the Brothers of Italy had become the first party of the center-right. Therefore, Salvini was in a hurry and would have wished for a electoral advance, with the League as the first party, which would have allowed him to become prime minister.