Berlusconi: “I have reconnected with Putin, for him I am the first of his five true friends” | International
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Silvio Berlusconi begins the legislature in which he has returned to the Senate after nine years surrounded by controversy. The latest of his controversies features Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the process of forming a government, in which his party, Forza Italia, will participate as one of the three legs of the coalition led by the extreme right, the three-time Prime Minister of Italy has said that he has once again approached Putin, one of his old friends and whom he has defined as “a man of peace”. These words have caused a considerable stir in Italy: not only because of their praise for the man who has triggered the war in Ukraine, but because his party denied the truth of these words until the audio with the conversation was published.
“Russian ministers have already said on several occasions that we are at war with them, because we supply weapons and financing to Ukraine. Personally, I can’t give my opinion because if it were told to the press it would be a disaster, but I am very, very, very worried. I have restored relations with President Putin, a little bit,” Berlusconi said on Monday. And he went on to explain that the head of the Kremlin had given him for his birthday on September 29 “20 bottles of vodka and a very sweet letter.” The Cavalieri He responded to this treat for his anniversary with “bottles of Lambrusco and an equally sweet menu.” “I knew him as a peaceful and sensible person,” said the leader of Forza Italia, referring to the politician who has triggered the war in Ukraine. And he added: “Too often, we hear about intervention with nuclear bombs. May God save us and free us from this danger. Ukraine has even asked to join NATO. If it joined NATO, the war would be global.”
Berlusconi made the comments Monday in parliament at a meeting of his political group, Forza Italia, which was quick to deny it as soon as it was published by online newspapers. “President Berlusconi has told parliamentarians an old story about an incident that occurred many years ago,” the conservative party said. But late on Tuesday, the party was exposed when the LaPresse agency published several audios in which the former prime minister is heard saying those words. Berlusconi also said that for Putin he is “the first of five true friends of his.”
The leader of Forza Italia spoke with his party colleagues about the government formation process. He detailed the meeting he had with his coalition partner and winner of the September elections, the leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni. And he made it clear that his anger with his partners, and especially with Meloni, is real because of the distribution of ministries in the next Executive.
“Yesterday with the lady we also talked about the ministers, who were four and rose to five. But I insisted because the League already had something more than us. Mrs. Meloni stayed with the presidency of the Senate, and I told her that she should learn as head of government at least to use the conditional. When she talks about her allies, she should say ‘I would like to keep the Senate for the Brothers of Italy’ and not ‘the Senate is mine’, because that is not how it is done”, launched Berlusconi. The leader of Forza Italia did not digest that the other partners of the coalition, Brothers of Italy and the League, have distributed the presidencies of the two chambers of Parliament; nor the rejection of his pupil Licia Ronzulli taking over a ministerial portfolio.
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“I have been President of the Council four times, and the President of the Council must be open and generous with his allies if he wants to keep the coalition together. He gave the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies to the League. In Italy, the presidency of the Senate is worth two ministries for those who do not have it; and the presidency of the Chamber is worth a ministry. So we asked for three ministries, he laughed at me, I asked for two, he laughed again, I asked for one, he said okay. This is the situation I found,” he is heard saying in the audio.
The coalition of the three rights, winner at the polls, negotiates the formation of a government with tension at its highest. Berlusconi has shown on numerous occasions his discomfort with Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, the party with the most votes. The tycoon prevented his party from voting as president of the Senate for the candidate of the Brothers of Italy, Ignazio La Russa, finally elected with the votes of the opposition. Shortly afterward, photographs of Berlusconi’s handwritten notes from the Senate’s opening session were published in which he described the future prime minister as “stubborn, overbearing, arrogant and offensive. No will to change. “She’s someone you can’t agree with,” he added to his list. Meloni replied wryly that, on top of that, she is “someone she can’t blackmail.”
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