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Melons should bring him more respect”

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Elio Vito - Picture by Ansa FotoElio Vito – Picture by Ansa Foto

At the microphone of iNews24, Elio Vito, former deputy of Forza Italia who resigned from his parliamentary post in July, following statements by Silvio Berlusconi on the invasion of Ukraine by Putin. Minister for Relations with Parliament during the Cav’s fourth government (2008-2011), leader of Forza Italia and president of the Defense Committee in the Chamber, ended his activism in the Azzurri by returning to his origins, to the Party radical. In our interview, he analyzes what is happening in the majority in these turbulent hours towards the formation of the new government.

What’s going on at Forza Italia right now?
“The knots are reaching a critical point. In recent years, Forza Italia has unfortunately been subordinated to the League and the Brothers of Italy, renouncing its liberal and reformist identity, also on the issue of civil rights and on the Zan bill, and brought the right, the farthest party from Fi culture, FdI, to win the elections. It is clear that this prospect certainly cannot excite President Berlusconi and those who believed in the liberal project of Forza Italia. But you had to think about it first”;

Today, Berlusconi’s statements about his friendship with Putin and renewed relations with him were discussed. It is not the first time. Forza Italia thus reaffirmed the Atlanticist and pro-European position of the party. Is there a gap on this between Berlusconi and the rest of the Azzurri?
“Forza Italia is Berlusconi. Forza Italia’s ambiguity over the Russian invasion of Ukraine was one of the reasons I left FI and resigned as an MP. Of course, Berlusconi’s friendship with Putin was known, but after February 24, I believe there is no longer any friendship he has. Instead, he had repeatedly stated that this friendship continued and criticized Western leaders. When there was Lavrov’s interview on Rete 4, all of Forza Italia defended this interview. And that now, to win a ministerial post, they want to show that they are different and distant from Berlusconi, it makes you smile. They should be more consistent and more grateful to Berlusconi”;

Are you saying that Forza Italia only distanced itself from Berlusconi’s statements for a political move?
“More than a political gesture, it is a sneaky coup de force. But it was a gesture of ingratitude because Forza Italia is Berlusconi and it is also good that it is so. Instead of him recognize, they want to show that they are something else to prove that they are capable of going to government and offering a parachute to the right that Berlusconi is finally starting to not recognize himself in. I repeat, this distance had to be taken first. For electoral convenience and having single-member constituencies in the majority, Forza Italia has allied itself with the right with which it has nothing to do. It is not the center-right that Berlusconi founded and c was already clear during the last legislature, when Salvini always behaved as the leader of the League, not as the leader of the coalition and now the consequences are paid”;

What are the consequences?
“I believe that the good consequence of Berlusconi’s statements is that Forza Italia is not going to government with any minister. It seems that we are witnessing the same trend that the components of the European People’s Party have also taken in other countries. Formerly in Europe they were used as cordon against the extreme right, today they help it to go to the government. It is dangerous for popular Europeans. It happened, for example, in Sweden and now it’s happening in Italy”;

How do you assess the ongoing negotiations for the formation of the government?
“I think Berlusconi is right. The winning party needs greater respect for itself, also for what it represented and for objective reasons. I didn’t like at all that Berlusconi had to go through Della Scrofa. It was a gesture of authoritarian disrespect. I believe that even against Licia Ronzulli, who is not my friend either, a totally ungenerous smearing opposition has been created, even from allied parties which in the past have received a lot from the agreements reached with Ronzulli and with the party people. I say it myself who disputed it: Giorgia Meloni should be more respectful of Berlusconi”;

How will Forza Italia come out of these negotiations?
“FI did well not to vote for La Russa and he might as well not have voted for Lorenzo Fontana in the House. Finally, he had a burst of his own political identity: how can personalities thus proposed by the allies be elected as second and third office of the State and without entrusting one of the two to Forza Italia? FI did well and I believe he did not aim to prevent the election of La Russa. Berlusconi predicted relief from the opposition would come. The aim was therefore to recover a political initiative. For me, they might as well not have elected Lorenzo Fontana. What is not good is that the right, which wanted to give lessons in purity to all the other parties, in fact negotiated the votes for La Russa with the opposition. I believe that FI was a good political choice and I don’t understand the controversies that took place”;

But FI said in the second vote he would vote for La Russa.
“I believe that out of institutional respect they would have done well to vote for the outgoing President of the Senate and of course President Berlusconi for the role he plays in relation to the entire coalition. But if the senators decided not to participate in the vote, they did well for me. FI was clearly mistreated on the choice of the two presidents and in addition (those proposed editor’s note) they were two figures in which, for the parliamentarians of Forza Italia, it was difficult to recognize themselves”;

Meanwhile, you’re back in the Radicals…
“I wanted to make a symbolic contribution to the radicals, I come from there and I never hide this belonging. I also wanted to show that I did not resign to run for another party or to go to the left. I wanted to show that I am still the same, even the one who was the leader and minister of Forza Italia. I haven’t changed: FI has changed over the years, even in the alliances he has had. But it’s a free choice that I don’t agree with and that’s why I left”;

What are you doing now?
“I make Umarèll. Except that instead of going to look at construction sites, I look at political sites, I comment on them, I tweet them, I share them again. I have my say and I break the boxes (laughs editor’s note)”.

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