“That’s what he would have wanted,” murmured Antonio Tajani in a church tone in contrast to the frank congratulations of the executives of Forza Italia, an orphan party that Silvio Berlusconi had carved out in his image. At 69, the former President of the European Parliament (2017-2019), now in charge of foreign affairs in the Meloni government as a minor coalition partner, took over the reins of the Cavaliere stable on Saturday July 15th.
The family card
In front of 213 members gathered at the Parco dei Principi hotel in Rome, Antonio Tajani unfolded a letter written by the late leader’s family, before reading it aloud: “Thank you for everything you will do to keep alive the ideals of freedom, progress and democracy which have always characterized its thought and actions. A big hug to everyone, with my best wishes for a good job”.
So much for calming the ardor of those who eyed the place of this perfectly French-speaking Catholic, supporter of the moderate center-right line. Others would have liked it there, such as the former mayor of Pavia, Alessandro Cattaeno, also very close to Berlusconi, or the vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies, Giorgio Mulé.
11% in the polls
Antonio Tajani lucidly measures the magnitude of the task. “The last poll I received said we are at 11%. I touch an inheritance almost impossible to collect. “No question of pouring into provocation within the executive. “We are in government loyally, without complacency, but with loyalty, seriousness, responsibility. »
Born in 1953, Antonio Tajani graduated in law. He began a career as a parliamentary journalist, before entering politics. A founding member of Forza Italia, he was part of Silvio Berlusconi’s inner circle as a spokesperson until 1994, when he began his European career. First as an MP, then in Brussels as European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, from 2008 to 2014, when he was re-elected first vice-president of the European Parliament, then president three years later. .
When Berlusconi died, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was the first to pounce on the crumbs of a party which, far from the historic scores of the 1990s, had only won 8.11% of the vote in the legislative elections. of 2022. “I will commit myself to pursuing the goals for which he fought so hard. For him and for Italy. Goodbye, Silvio”, she declared, greeting a “fighter”, “one of the most influential men in the history of the country”.