The first signal yesterday morning was the failure to travel to Strasbourg to participate in the commemoration of the late president of the European Parliament David Sassoli. At that time he should have re-launched the endorsement of the EPP summit in favor of his candidacy for the Quirinale after the words already spoken last week by the leader of the popular Manfred Weber. The second signal was the tension that emerged from the parts of Arcore after the words of Matteo Salvini. A few days after the summit in which together with Giorgia Meloni and the other center-right parties he had assured him full support, yesterday the leader of the League actually called everything into question, shortly anticipating a shared name that certainly could not be his: “I will make a convincing proposal for many if not all.”
So Silvio Berlusconi in these hours is pondering whether to go all the way with the count in the Chamber or choose plan B, as recommended by many starting from Gianni Letta: to take a step back in the name of national unity and pave the way for Quirinale to Mario Draghi. Disrupting the League leader himself. But they are confused hours, and it is no coincidence that the entourages of both last night nevertheless tried to minimize the clash by making it known of a “cordial phone call” which took place in the late afternoon. And Forza Italia itself sent a note to say that there is no controversy with the leader of the League, whose words “are in line with what the coalition has decided”.
In any case, if Berlusconi really were to retire in the end and mention Draghi, the premier’s road to the Colle would immediately go downhill: in favor, as is known, there are the secretary of the Pd Enerico Letta (and also the leader of the only opposition party, Giorgia Meloni), the centrists of Coraggio Italia and a significant part of the M5s starting with Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Beppe Grillo. In support of the Draghi solution there is also the leader of Italia Viva Matteo Renzi. And after all, Salvini himself did not rule him out ten days ago, arguing that the League would still remain in the government.
Now what is unfolding is a war on the times. Tomorrow, Thursday at the latest, the new and decisive center-right summit will be held. Even if in reality, if Berlusconi were to withdraw from the race for the Quirinale, he could do so even at the last moment. That is, before the start of the fourth ballot on January 27th. Salvini, however, yesterday sent an either or: the choice must be made before the voting begins and therefore by Sunday.
Those who have spoken with Berlusconi in these hours describe him as very conflicted: it is not true that the numbers are not there, they say from Fi, as long as the allies do their duty. And this is precisely the suspicion of the old leader, that in the decisive test it is friendly fire that impallinelo. Certainly it would not be easy for Berlusconi to accept to take the step back in favor of another center-right exponent, on which Salvini is working. The contacts that the League secretary had with Letizia Moratti, Marcello Pera, Franco Frattini and the President of the Senate Elisabetta Casellati are no mystery. Even on these names, however, a wide coverage is far from obvious.