New right-wing Italian government faces familiar challenges, by Dario Pio Muccilli, Star-Revue overseas correspondent – Red Hook Star-Revue

New right-wing Italian government faces familiar challenges, by Dario Pio Muccilli, Star-Revue overseas correspondent – Red Hook Star-Revue

Updated: 14 days, 53 minutes, 54 seconds ago

Italy’s new right-wing prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, has appointed her cabinet and immediately they are faced with problem. Not from the opposition, whose divisions and confusion helps indeed Meloni’s power, but from the gas crisis and from her own allies.

Energy Crisis and the need of France

Italy, like all the countries in Europe, is in the middle of an energy predicament not seen since the 1973 oil crisis. Prices are rising, creating difficulties for working class. A possible solution could be an EU-imposed price cap on gas. Big European summits are to come, and Meloni’s stance needs approval by EU partners, a task indeed difficult for a nationalist and far-right leader, even though she is widely respected as a coherent and hard-working politician.

In fact she’s been very busy. The night after she was sworn into office she met France’s President Macron during an informal meeting in Rome. Franco-Italian partnership needs to be strengthened now more than ever. The two countries must unite if they want to break the opposition to gas price regulation coming from Germany and most Northern European countries.

Berlusconi’s love for Putin

Of course, none of this would be necessary if the Ukrainian crisis didn’t exist, and it is exactly regarding this field that Meloni has experienced hardship with one of her cabinet allies: Il Cavaliere (the Knight, ed) Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian PM, worldwide famous for his renowned love for women and his egocentric conduct of government.

In three leaked audios, Berlusconi, while addressing his party’s MPs in private, expressed admiration for Putin, stating that he’s one of the Russian president’s “five closest friends”. Moreover he blamed Zelensky for having harshly “attacked the Donbass” before Putin’s invasion, which Berlusconi stated was meant “to depose (in a few weeks, ed) the current government and replace it with another one already chosen by a minority of reasonable and good Ukrainians.”

Although Forza Italia, Berlusconi’s party and member of Meloni’s Cabinet, soon reaffirmed its European and Atlantic credentials, the Knight’s words had certainly an impact, as they were said a few days before the official start of the cabinet, where Forza Italia ended up addressing the Foreign Affairs Minister.

If the latter, Antonio Tajani, is a man of renowned Atlantic faith, his leader’s stance will be able to cast shadow on him and part of Meloni’s Cabinet, where the support for NATO and Ukraine has been a key point since the beginning.

To be honest, I am pretty sure that Berlusconi’s stance will not affect the Cabinet’s stability so much. I may understand that for you, my dear American readers, it’s hard to believe that, as the covering of the news by US media was rather apocalyptic, but if Italian politics was a University degree, “Phenomenology of Berlusconi” would be the hardest exam. Berlusconi is a showman before a politician, performing is his way to negotiate and no one knows what he wanted and wants to achieve through his latest broadside.

The opposition aka the masochists

It may be said that nobody knows as well what the opposition wants to achieve, but this time it’s not because of their inscrutability, but because they don’t know it either. One of their hardest attacks was from a Democratic Party MP, Ms Debora Serracchiani, who denounced in the Parliament the government for allegedly advocating that women should stay one step behind men. Meloni soon replied “MP Serracchiani, does it seem to you that I stay one step behind men?” with tons of applause from the chamber. Even a member of the opposition, but from a different party, Matteo Renzi, former PM and Italia Viva’s Leader, said “attacking her, Italy’s first female PM, on women representation: It’s masochism!”

Indeed masochism has been a key feature of Italian opposition: there were actually three different opposing forces at the elections, and now in the Parliament two of them, the Democratic Party and the Five Stars Movement, are working together to exclude the third, Renzi’s one, from having all the constitutional benefits reserved to the opposition.

This attitude, with intestinal wars inside those forces who are supposed to attack Meloni rather than each other, will certainly go in favor of the Cabinet, but at the same time this will leave no excuse to that one if it fails, because It will be nobody else’s fault. The Latin sentence “homo faber fortunae suae” (“Every man is the maker of his destiny”) should now more than ever be the motto of this government, with all its pros and cons.

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