Salvini wants political debate with Letta

Italy General Election: Salvini wants political debate with PD leader Letta


League party leader Matteo Salvini said on Monday he also wants to have a TV political debate ahead of the September 25 general election with the leader of the opposition centre-left coalition Enrico Letta.

Currently, only Giorgia Meloni, leader of right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI), is scheduled for a debate with Letta.

The hour-long debate between Italy’s top party leaders is scheduled for September 22. In the style of the US debates, it will take place on the flagship channel of state broadcaster RAI. This is only three days before the vote, with Bruno Vespa as moderator.

On the same programme, Salvini and other major players will get half an hour to present their platforms. However, this is without a debate.

Other political debate options

The news chief of smaller independent broadcaster La7, Enrico Mentana, has said he is ready to hold a debate between the leaders of all four major players.

Centrist pole leader Carlo Calenda, who heads an alliance between his Azione (Action) party and former PD chief and ex-premier Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva (IV) party, has said he would like to see all four players debate each other.

Salvini agreed on Monday, saying “I’d like everyone to be able to face off with everyone else. I’d like to face off with Enrico Letta. I hope that on the TV networks everyone gets the chance to debate everyone else.

“I’m not an organiser of TV debate but the Italians have a right to understand. I would debate Letta tomorrow morning”.

Subsequently, RAI state broadcaster’s flagship Raiuno channel’s news programme TG1 said it could host a debate of all four leaders on September 7 and 15.

Current polling

The FdI is currently polling at just over 24%, putting Meloni in prime position to become Italy’s first woman and post-Fascist premier.

The post-Communist and post-Christian Democrat PD is second with just under 24%. The League is on around 12% and Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party, the third wheel in the centre-right coalition, is at around 9%.

If the polls are correct, that would give the right/centre-right alliance around 45% of the vote on September 25, spelling a clear majority in both houses of parliament.

Meloni, as leader of the party with the most votes, would become premier.

Letta has been less fortunate in forming alliances. His party failed to consolidate agreement with both the M5S and Calenda.

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