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Boris Johnson remains a dangerous force in UK politics
Boris Johnson remains a dangerous force in UK politics | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Boris Johnson remains a dangerous force in UK politics

Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics, this week from the Oslo airport.

Is the political career of Boris Johnson over?

Seems to be the case but you can never be entirely certain, in his particular case. I think he has the ambition to come back. And clearly, he's going to remain a dangerous, in my opinion, a very disruptive force inside the Conservative Party. If they lose the election next year, which is not unlikely, mildly speaking, there might be a civil war and Boris Johnson might be one of the leaders of that particular civil war inside the Conservative Party. But remains to be seen.

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attends a rally ahead of a regional election in Emilia-Romagna.

REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi dies at 86

On Monday, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's longest-serving prime minister, died at age 86. Il Cavaliere (The Knight) finally succumbed to the chronic leukemia that kept him out of the limelight for the past few months.

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Brothers of Italy party leader Giorgia Meloni attends the fourth voting session to elect the new parliament speaker in Rome.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

What We’re Watching: Italy’s new leadership questions, Russia’s martial law, US midterm messaging

Meloni faces uphill battle in Italy

How long can any Italian government last? That’s a good question in a country that has had 67 governments in the past 76 years. Now Giorgia Meloni, head of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, is set to take over as prime minister, and the going won’t be easy. The economy is hurtling towards recession, says the IMF, while consumer prices are soaring, particularly for energy – in part due to the war in Ukraine. But while she has pledged continued support for Ukraine, Meloni’s coalition partner Silvio Berlusconi, head of Forza Italia, has signaled a different view. The aging former prime minister and media mogul is picking fights over ministerial posts, belittling Meloni publicly, and in a leaked recording, talked about recently exchanging liquor with Vladimir Putin while questioning Italy’s support for Kyiv. Berlusconi is a minor partner compared to the more powerful Matteo Salvini and his rightist League Party, but Meloni has also clashed with Salvini on energy matters. So we’ll be watching to see how warm and cozy this coalition stays as Meloni heads into a winter of troubles.

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Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni poses with her ballot at a polling station in Rome.

REUTERS/Yara Nardi

What We’re Watching: Italian far-right wins big, Russia holds sham votes in Ukraine

Far-right sweeps to power in Italian election

As expected, a three-party coalition led by the far-right won Italy's legislative election on Sunday, paving the way for Giorgia Meloni to become the country's first female PM and most rightwing leader since Benito Mussolini. With almost all ballots counted, Meloni's Brothers of Italy party came in first with over 26% of the vote. Along with Lega and Forza Italia, the coalition she leads will get more than 43% — enough for a majority of seats in both the 400-member lower house of parliament and the 200-member Senate. What happens next? The three parties have about six weeks to form a government captained by Meloni, who's pretty radical on some things but less so on others. She wants to stay in the EU but for Brussels to have less power over Italian affairs. Meloni also backs EU and NATO moves to support Ukraine against Russia (unlike one of her two junior coalition partners, former PM Silvio Berlusconi, a longtime Vladimir Putin pal who seemed to defend Russia's invasion on the eve of the election). Still, Meloni's top priority now is ensuring that Italy gets all the EU pandemic relief cash it needs to weather high inflation and an energy crisis.

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From left to right, Lega leader Matteo Salvini, Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi, and Brothers of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni during a campaign rally in Rome.

REUTERS/Yara Nardi

What We're Watching: Italian election, Chinese anti-corruption drive, Lebanese bank shutdown

Italy votes!

Italians head to the polls on Sunday and are likely to elect Italy’s first far-right leader since World War II. Giorgia Meloni, 47, who heads the Brothers of Italy Party (which has neofascist roots) is slated to become Italy’s next PM. Polls indicate Brothers will win about a quarter of the vote, while her three-party coalition, including Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega Party and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, is projected to secure around 45%. Four years ago, Brothers – established in 2012 – reaped just 4% of the vote, but it has benefited recently from the left’s implosion as well as Meloni’s refusal to back the centrist Draghi government, which collapsed this summer, making her the most formidable opposition figure (Salvini and Berlusconi backed Draghi). Italy has convoluted voting rules but will be voting on 400 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) and 200 seats in the Senate – the winning coalition needs a majority in both. Meloni aims to dilute the EU’s power over Italian affairs, though she believes Rome must preserve close ties with Brussels, and she supports EU and NATO efforts to contain Russian aggression. Read this primer to learn more about what Meloni does – and doesn’t – stand for.

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From left to right, Lega leader Matteo Salvini, Brothers leader Giorgia Meloni, and former Italian PM and Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

How will the far right run Italy?

On Sept. 25, Italians head to the polls to vote in a snap parliamentary election triggered by the collapse of PM Mario Draghi's fragile coalition government in late July. Political instability and short-lived governments are nothing new in Italy, which has churned through 18 of them in the past 34 years. Now, though, an alliance of far-right parties is widely favored to win power for the first time since the end of World War II in a country with bitter memories of fascist rule. What will that government look like, and what can we expect from it? We asked Eurasia Group analyst Federico Santi.

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