Italy’s political crisis: Berlusconi calls for a centre-right coalition or early elections

Europe

22 August 2019, 18:57

M.News

Silvio Berlusconi

Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi has called for fresh elections in Italy if a centre-right coalition can not be agreed.

Speaking following a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Berlusconi said that a coalition between the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Movement – proposed by former prime minister Matteo Renzi as one way out of the current impasse – would be a betrayal of Italian voters.

“The pure chance that political forces that have been fighting each other yesterday have now come to a common interest certainly cannot be the basis upon which to build a stable and credible cabinet, but instead it makes a fool of the voters,” he told journalists in Rome.

“A cabinet so biased towards the left, like the one today would be dangerous for businesses, for development, for security, for warranties and freedoms of all citizens.”

Mattarella met Berlusconi following a meeting with Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti, and is due to meet Matteo Salvini, the former interior minister and leader of the League, and Luigi di Maio, the leader of the Five Star Movement, later on Thursday.

The meetings are designed to find a solution to a fresh political crisis in Italy, after Giuseppe Conte resigned as prime minister on Tuesday. His resignation dissolved a fractious coalition between the League and the Five Star Movement that had held for over a year.

Salvini, who has criticised heavily in Conte’s resignation speech yesterday, is hoping that elections will allow him to increase his power over Italian politics, with polling before the crisis putting his League on 37% of the national vote. But if a coalition can be agreed, Salvini’s plan may backfire.

“We will see how it changes his rhetoric if he’s out of government, if he’s no longer interior minister, which was a powerful position to express his very strong stance on immigration for example,” Lorenzo Pregliasco, founder of political research firm Quorum, told Euronews earlier on Thursday.

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