By Gonzalo Sánchez
Rome, Oct 13 (EFE).- The leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party and likely future Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, secured control of the Senate on Thursday by appointing her right-hand man, FdI co-founder Ignazio La Russa, as Speaker.
Meloni celebrated the former defense minister’s victory, describing him a “patriot, a servant of the State, a man in love with Italy”.
But while La Russa got 116 votes, 12 more than the needed majority of 104, he did not secure the votes of allies Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI), marking the first rupture in the right-wing coalition that won the September 25 elections.
Berlusconi’s FI said it had not participated in the vote due to “unease” over negotiations on the new government team, creating friction between the two right-wing leaders.
Meloni is leading negotiations to set up a cabinet of ministers ahead of being officially appointed by Italy’s president Sergio Matarella.
While Meloni has the right to lead negotiations after her party won 26% of votes in the elections, Berlusconi is demanding equal say as Matteo Salvini’s far-right League despite both parties winning only about 8% of the votes.
Meloni said she was not going to stop negotiations because of disagreements she described as “secondary issues”.
“For me it is the results that count,” she said.
The first Senate session was symbolically presided by its oldest elected member, Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre.
“It is impossible for me not to feel a kind of vertigo remembering that the same little girl who, on a day like this in 1938, disconsolate and lost, was forced by racist laws to leave her empty desk at primary school, is now, by a strange twist of fate, at the most prestigious desk in the Senate,” she said.
Segre, 92, is the oldest active member of the chamber and was the only member of her Jewish family to survive the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp. EFE