Italian opposition striving to unite.

After PD support far-right coalition government on arms to Ukraine

Brussels – At first the common intent between the leader of the Five Star Movement, former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and the new leader of the PD Democratic Party, Elly Schlein, gave hope that the opposition to the Italian far-right government led by Giorgia Meloni could unite and build up. In the land of CGIL, the biggest trade union, last week the two showed off common positions and proposal on the defense of workers’ rights with a proposal on the minimum wage.

Photo – 10 March 2023 – Leaders of Italian PD, Elly Schlein and M5S, Giuseppe Conte, speak in the same panel at CGIL annual conference , the main Italian trade union event

But the flirt was short lived as the vote on weapons to Kiev has divided the two opposition groups in the Senate: PD yesterday backed the majority on the continuation of shipment of arms to Ukraine.

Right in the moment talks on possible negotiations are looming after Xi Jinping’s vague and criticizable peace plan, and since Zelensky himself is considering opening up to dialogue, Italy’s position is yet prone to the US.

It is obvious Italy must live up to its commitment to NATO, but when it comes to sending weapons, there isn’t just a margin of choice, but also space to evaluate which weapons to send, anything the Italian public has been kept in the dark so far.

All these information are ‘out of the table’ in the Italian parliamentary debate where the ‘non-aligned’ groups are accused of Putinism, which is not only an allegation, but also an intimidation because it discredits and makes suspects of those ‘preaching’ the immediate ceasefire and the opening of serious negotiations.

Both PD and M5S have pro-NATO positions, but the new phase the war with China coming into play, which is concerning, must lead to lift frontal positions and pragmatically adapt to the reality of facts: ‘winning’ against Russia is impossible. The rhetorical phrase of the president of the EU Parliament Roberta Metsola to Zelensky “You will win” remains a good omen, since Putin’s Russia has 4,477 nuclear warheads, 300,000 active reservists and hypersonic missiles which NATO does not have.

The front of oppositions in the parliaments of EU members split facing this issue. Italian Democratic Party, reduced to low percentage, but back on the rise, fears losing consensus while its new leadership settles down as its broad base spans from left and socialist progressive up to moderate stances.

But in fact an alliance on substantial points between M5S and PD is still to be outlined and we must also deal with a majority in the lower Chamber (Camera dei Deputati) of 227 seats (ruling Brothers of Italy has 118) against the 131 deputies of M5S and PD (52 and 69 respectively).

There’s, anyway a chance to creep in the gaps of the executive as both Salvini’s League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia openly opposed belligerent positions that so far led us into a war that in the long term can turn into a NATO vs Russia+China conflict. Meloni in Brussels today said ‘I am not concerned about Salvini’s stances” when asked about lack of unity on arms to Ukraine: a sign the right-wing coalition has its own vulnerability.