Fontana one of new speakers elected

New government taking shape, though Berlusconi petulant


The speakers for each of the houses of parliament selected, Berlusconi is seen writing less than flattering notes about Giorgia Meloni. Berlusconi has been complaining about Meloni’s vetoes on his ministerial proposals.

Ex-premier and centre right Forza Italia (FI) leader Silvio Berlusconi wrote notes on rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) leader Giorgia Meloni during Thursday’s election of FdI Ignazio la Russa as Senate Speaker. Berlusconi’s notes described Meloni as “presumptuous, over-bearing, arrogant and offensive,” according to a screenshot published Friday by La Repubblica.

FI did not take part in the vote, complaining of Meloni’s vetoes on his ministerial proposals. As a result, La Russa came through thanks to a handful of opposition votes.

La Russa has been previously filmed with Mussolini memorabilia in his home.

Read: Holocaust survivor presides over opening of parliament

Lorenzo Fontana elected as Lower House Speaker

The League’s Lorenzo Fontana was elected Speaker of the Lower House on Friday.

The 42-year-old former family and disabilities minister prevailed in the fourth round of voting. At that point, the threshold of MPs’ votes needed went down from two-thirds to a simple majority. He got 222 votes, comfortably over the 197 needed.

“I thank those who voted and those who did not,” Fontana said. “It will be my honour to preside over parliament”.

He dedicated his first comments as Senate Speaker to Pope Francis, describing him as a “spiritual point of reference for the majority of Italian citizens. The pope is carrying out an unequaled diplomatic effort for peace,” he added.

A conservative Catholic, critics have accused Fontana of being against LGBT+ rights and abortion, and of being sympathetic to Russia. He has also lent his support to a controversial pro-life Family Day in Italy.

During the voting on Friday, Rachele Scarpa and Alessandro Zan, lawmakers for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), held up a large banner that read: “No to a homophobic, pro-Putin Speaker”.

In his speech, however, Fontana stressed the value of diversity. “The House represents the diverse choices of the citizens,” he said. “Our nation is a many-sided one, with different historic and regional realities that formed it and made it great.

“Italy’s greatness is diversity”.

Giorgetti possible economy minister

Outgoing industry minister Giancarlo Giorgetti is the League’s pick for economy, League leader Matteo Salvini said on Friday.

Salvini said it was “indisputable” the League would indicate Giorgetti’s name to Meloni when she picks her new cabinet. She is likely to accept Giorgetti in the key post; she has already said he would be an “excellent” economy minister.

Giorgetti, 55, became deputy League leader in 2016. He has has won plaudits for his work as industry minister in outgoing Premier Mario Draghi’s executive. The coalition consider him a technocrat rather than one of the League’s quota of candidates.

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