Defence Minister Guido Crosetto emphasised the importance of impartiality among magistrates when addressing the House on Friday. This follows a controversy sparked by his assertion that a left-wing faction within the judiciary poses a significant threat to Italy’s right-wing government.
Earlier in the week, Crosetto, a member of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, had triggered the controversy by warning of a “judicial opposition” to Premier Meloni’s government. In an interview with Corriere della Sera on Sunday, he mentioned learning about meetings within the judiciary discussing how to “stop the anti-democratic drift Meloni is leading us to.” Crosetto anticipated a season of challenges before the European elections, citing past experiences in the country.
The Italian magistrates union ANM, led by Giuseppe Santalucia, strongly rebuked Crosetto, accusing him of spreading baseless “fake news” that harms institutions. Santalucia urged Crosetto to dispel suspicions and shadows. Opposition parties, including ex-premier Giuseppe Conte of the 5-Star Movement (M5S), condemned Crosetto’s remarks, with many MPs calling for him to address the Lower House promptly.
Crosetto’s statements to the House
In his statements to the House on Friday, Crosetto stressed the need for magistrates to remain impartial, calling for an end to the clash between politics and the judiciary. He expressed his willingness to engage in discussions on the matter, denying any avoidance of the questions raised.
He said “I shall open a topic that we must discuss sooner or later: this clash between politics and the judiciary must end.
“I have found some magistrates – I have heard (centre-left) Area exponents – who see in the government an attack on the judiciary, almost as if they do not want it to work.
“There are those who have said that the role of the judiciary must be to balance the will of the people.
“But whoever has responsibility must be impartial: imagine if a general or a prefect had uttered (the magistrates’) claim”.
Crosetto acknowledged that while he trusted magistrates, he had observed allegedly biased interventions against the government by certain officials.