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Former Italian prime minister Berlusconi against early elections

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi considers early elections irresponsible, at a time when the government is busy pulling the country out of the coronavirus and economic crisis, according to a media interview on Sunday.

“It would be really irresponsible to think of interrupting this ahead of time to block the country with an election campaign,” the leader of the conservative Forza Italia party told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

In particular, the far-right Lega under former interior minister Matteo Salvini and the far-right nationalist Fratelli d’Italia are flirting with early elections.

The plan, according to media reports, would be for Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who has no party affiliation, to be elected president in early 2022.

His government, currently supported by a majority of parliamentary parties, would then hardly be tenable, according to the reports – possibly opening the way for early elections.

Opinion polls show that the centre-right bloc, to which Forza Italia belongs, is repeatedly scratching the 50-per-cent threshold. The current legislative period runs until May 2023.

Journalists have repeatedly asked Draghi if he could imagine running for president. He has responded that it was offensive to discuss the succession to the presidency while the current president, Sergio Mattarella, was still in office.

In late September, Draghi also explained it was not for him to decide, but for parliament. He added that his government had been formed to deal with Italy’s current problems and that nothing else counted.

Berlusconi, a veteran politician and media mogul, has also been mentioned in speculations about Mattarella’s successor.

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