Italian election winners reach deal on speakers of both parliament houses

The new elected Senate president Forza Italia party's Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati speaks during the second session day since the March 4 national election in Rome, Italy March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Vastavam web: Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement hooked up with conservative parties on Saturday to elect the speakers of both houses of parliament, but there was no sign yet they might extend this pact and form a government.The March 4 national election ended in a hung parliament, with the 5-Star becoming the largest party and a rightist alliance, including ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and the anti-migrant League, emerging as the biggest bloc.

The conservative alliance came close to collapse on Friday after the League sided with 5-Star to reject Forza Italia’s first choice for the Senate position, but hasty overnight negotiations patched up the row, at least for now.“Here we have seen that there are (parliamentary) forces which carry considerable weight. But for us, government is something different,” said Giorgia Meloni, head of the far-right Brothers of Italy party which is in the conservative alliance.

“For us, 5-Star absolutely does not represent any sort of guarantee, just like the Democratic Party,” she added, referring to the centre-left PD which lost power in the March 4 election.The election of the speakers also represented a blow to Berlusconi, who dominated Italy’s centre-right for almost 25 years but must now play second fiddle to Salvini after the League overtook his Forza Italia party in the March 4 vote.

He accused Salvini of betrayal on Friday after the League sided with the 5-Star over the speaker nominations. On Saturday Berlusconi altered his tone, saying he still trusted Salvini and promised to work for the good of Italy, the euro zone’s third largest economy.Backing for the 5-Star has also climbed further over the past three weeks, with the movement promising to introduce a generous “Citizen’s Wage” to help the poor and jobless.