Myriad voices claimed that Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi gave Salvini the go-ahead to form a coalition with the anti-establishment M5S in exchange for guarantees on the issues most important to the former prime minister.
On of these alleged guarantees was that Telecommunications would be handled by a League member approved by Berlusconi.
Many political commentators blamed Di Maio, as many before him, of making deals with Mediaset in exchange for the chance to form a government.
It’s a theory which seems to have been proven wrong in recent days, given that it was recently announced that Di Maio will manage Telecommunications and will assign one of his party members, senator Vito Crimi, the other important role of Publishing, which controls the funding of press outlets.
Francesco Verderami wrote in Italian daily Corriere della Sera that Berlusconi was furious at the news, calling Salvini a “traitor”.
The journalist reported that when Mediaset president Fedele Confalonieri tried to calm Berlusconi down, he snapped:
“I asked only one thing of him ... now [Di Maio] will shut off televisions if he can.”
It seems that Di Maio has won this battle.
It’s a sign that Salvini has not made his mark on the government as many predicted on social media, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has not become the League’s “hostage”.
The proof is also in the other significant result for the M5S regarding the management of Secret Services, which the League wanted to assign to the Undersecretary for Prime Minister, Giancarlo Giorgetti, but which instead will remain in the hands of Conte.
Instead, Giorgetti will be responsible for the strategic control of the Interministerial Committee for Economic Planning (CIPE), the main body responsible for the coordination and horizontal integration of national economic policies.
It directs and monitors public funding and manages institutional relations.
Last Tuesday, the Council of Ministers nominated six deputy ministers and 36 secretaries which will form the government framework, creating a good balance in which almost all of the big players of both political forces were assigned a role.
The new members were sworn in on Wednesday at 1:00 pm local time.
Twenty-five members are from the M5S, 17 are from the League, two are bureaucrats and the last is Riccardo Merlo, representative of the Associative Movement Italians Abroad (MAIE).
In the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Luciano Barra Caracciolo will be flanked by League member Guido Guidesi and M5S member Vincenzo Santangelo.
At Palazzo Chigi, Undersecretaries of the Council Presidency from the M5S are: Simone Valente (Relations with Parliament and Direct Democracy); Mattia Fantinati (Public Administration); Stefano Buffagni (Regional and Autonomous Affairs), Vincenzo Zoccano (Families and Disabilities); Vito Crimi (Publication); and Vincenzo Spadafora (Equal Opportunities and Youth).
Meanwhile, the League will be represented by Giuseppina Castiello (South).
Foreign Affairs will be handled by Emanuela De Re and Manilo Di Stefano from the M5S, and Guglielmo Picchi from the League.
Taking care of Interior will be the League’s Nicola Molteni and Stefano Candiani and the M5S’s Carlo Sibilia and Luigi Gaietti.
Justice will be managed by Jacopo Morrone (League) and Vittorio Ferraresi (M5S), while Defence will go to Angelo Tofalo (M5S) and Raffaele Volpi (League).
Two deputy ministers, one from each group, were named for Economy: Laura Castelli for the M5S and Massimo Garavaglia for the League.
The two undersecretaries are Alessio Villarosa and Massimo Bitonci.
Economic Development went to the League’s Dario Galli, who will work alongside Di Maio as deputy minister, while Andrea Cioffi and Davide Crippa were named as undersecretaries.
All of the other ministries were assigned to two people, one from each political force, except for Transport, where the M5S’s Michele Dell’Orco will work with Danilo Toninelli along with League members Edoardo Rixi and Armando Siri.
Rixi is on trial for embezzlement, while Siri has a plea bargain for bank fraud to his name.
The last name to mention is Lorenzo Fioramonti, who will handle Education.
His nomination will perhaps be a way for the M5S to clear themselves of being blamed for the little attention placed on education in the past.