Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has hinted at the possibility of new national Italian elections as populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini speaks of “common battles” for the two parties in Europe.
Berlusconi, who leads the centre-right Forza Italia, has hinted at reviving the centre-right alliance which broke up following the coalition deal between Salvini’s Lega and the Five Star Movement last year. The former Italian Prime Minister has repeatedly attacked the coalition and called on Salvini to return to the centre-right project, newspaper Il Giornale reports.
“Lega and the Brothers of Italy also realized that alone in Europe they would remain in the corner or they would not count for anything. Our mission starts with changing alliances with the European left. We must build, also with my presence in the EPP, a new alliance with the moderate right parties and also with Orban and Salvini,” Berlusconi said.
Orban’s Fidesz party was suspended from the European People’s Party (EPP) parliamentary group earlier this year after members objected to a poster campaign they felt was decidedly anti-European Union. Since then Orban has met with Salvini on several occasions, with both promising to form some sort of cooperation after the elections later this month.
Salvini Pro-Family Congress Attendance Sparks Italy Coalition Conflict https://t.co/qMQ28sfttV
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Berlusconi slammed the recent sacking of Lega deputy minister Armando Siri who was fired by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte due to allegations of corruption. “Siri should not have resigned. He is only being investigated and in Italy, the Constitution guarantees the presumption of innocence. He was sent away by the government at the insistence of these professional justice handlers who are the Five Stars, he said.
“We are the university,” he said and added, “Lega is the middle school and the Five Stars are the asylum.”
For several months the populist Italian coalition has seen immense friction including last year when several Five Star Movement senators rebelled against leader Luigi Di Maio over Salvini’s migration and security bill. More recently, the two parties clashed heads over the TAV project, a train tunnel between Italy and France, which the Five stars want to abandon.