Italy’s Meloni, Berlusconi make peace, vow to form cabinet quickly

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Giorgia Meloni, expected to be named Italian prime minister, and her coalition partner Silvio Berlusconi had a cordial meeting on Monday and aim to quickly form a “cohesive” government, their parties said.

Tensions have been running high over the allocation of cabinet posts between Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party led a rightist alliance to victory in a Sept. 25 election, and Berlusconi, who heads the smaller Forza Italia party.

“Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia … are at work to give Italy a strong, cohesive and high profile government which gets to work immediately to face the urgent issues,” the parties said in a joint statement.

The two appeared to have largely settled their differences at Monday’s meeting, after falling out last week when most senators from Berlusconi’s party refused to back Brothers of Italy candidate Ignazio La Russa as Senate speaker.

La Russa, a hard-right veteran who began his career in the post-fascist Italian Social Movement, was voted in thanks to votes from the opposition.

The meeting took place amid considerable tension, with political sources saying Meloni had refused some of Forza Italia’s requests on cabinet posts.

The revelation of a note in Berlusconi’s handwriting he briefly held in parliament last week saying the Brothers of Italy leader was “overbearing, domineering, arrogant, offensive” provoked the ire of Meloni.

“It seems to me that one point was missing among those listed by Berlusconi: I can’t be blackmailed,” she told reporters last week, without elaborating.

Monday’s meeting lasted around one hour and was held in the Brothers of Italy headquarters in central Rome.

Asked about talks between the two leaders about key ministerial posts, a Forza Italia source said the coalition – which also includes Matteo Salvini’s League party – was still at work and no decisions had been taken. Brothers of Italy declined to comment.

Meloni is expected to be named prime minister and form a government before the end of this month.

via Reuters

Image via Mr Berlusconi Facebook page

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