* Italy Election update: Northern League leader suspects his potential partner Silvio Berlusconi has a commitment issue. Knowing Silvio’s reputation, Matteo Salvini wants him to sign a prenup.
** The V4 Report posted before regarding the Northern League and their support of Visegrad during their ongoing battles with current PM Paolo Gentiloni over migration. We have high regards for Salvini and Lega Nord – and remain optimistic this new conservative coalition can oust the party of Gentiloni and Matteo Renzi. This would stun the EU further and would represent another serious blow to the migration agenda of Dimitris Avramopoulos.
However, there remains a slight problem….the 81-year-old Berlusconi, who we view as unreliable and erratic. Yes, Mr. Salvini, we agree: Get his commitment on paper.
– According to politico.eu, as Italy heads toward a March general election, the two major right-wing parties —Silvio Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s Northern League — hope to join forces in a coalition to maximize their chances of winning individual constituencies and taking power from Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s Democratic Party (PD).
This means a right-wing coalition of Forza Italia, the Northern League and some smaller partners actually have a better chance of forming the next government. The latest polls put them on 36 percent — closer to the crucial 40 percent mark.
The deal is almost done, but there is one small detail stalling the negotiations: The charismatic 44-year-old leader of the Northern League fears that the rejuvenated 81-year-old Berlusconi is already eying up the PD. To avoid this scenario, Salvini wants the three-time premier to put his commitment to the coalition deal in writing — which Berlusconi has so far refused to do.
“If the coalition wins, which is what we’re hoping for, Salvini will have nothing to fear,” said one Forza Italia official, adding: “If we do not win, of course the natural thing would be to inquire about a coalition with others, but it’s not something we’re really planning.”
Jacopo Iacoboni, a political analyst at the Italian daily La Stampa, says “Everyone has a backup plan, that’s how things work with such political uncertainty. For Berlusconi, joining a governing coalition with the progressives [PD] would be the most reasonable option, if he doesn’t succeed at the elections. The League does not have this option because they cannot join a moderate government. Their backup plan is joining the 5Star Movement.”
Current polling has the new right coalition at 36% followed by anti-establishment 5Star Movement at 29% and Gentiloni’s PD at 28%.
*** Stay tuned. We believe this new conservative coalition will eventually get its act together and succeed at the polls. However, dealing with Berlusconi after the election may be the biggest challenge.
We wish you the best, Mr. Salvini. Onward!