New italian interior minister: a woman for hard cases

Italy’s new Interior Minister Lamorgese may be less radical than predecessor Salvini. But a political turnaround is not to be expected from her.

It can only get better: Luciana Lamorgese with predecessor Matteo Salvini Photo: Imago Images/ Independent Photo Agency Int.

One would like to think that after Matteo Salvini, even Peppa Pig could take over the Italian Interior Ministry without causing major damage. But the "security decrees" by which Italy pursues a rigid anti-migration course are still in force. And they are the responsibility of all those who voted for them: in addition to the Lega, the majority of the Five Star Party, including Prime Minister Conte. Therefore, jubilation is premature when the Milanese prefect Luciana Lamorgese has been appointed in Salvini’s place.

She is the woman for the tough cases: the lawyer has been a loyal public servant for forty years. No party affiliation, no Twitter account, no Facebook page, no Instagram profile. In Italy, top officials like her are called trasversale, something like a line that runs through two lines in the same plane at two different points: she can with everyone. With the Lega, with the PD – and that’s where she’ll get it done with the Five Stars.

When she was appointed Prefect of Milan in 2017, Salvini made a point of attending the ceremony in person. By then, Luciana Lamorgese had already proven her strong stomach as cabinet chief for both Berlusconi’s crown prince Angelino Alfano and Marco Minniti, the former PD interior minister who solved the 2017 "migrant crisis" by shifting it to Libya.

And there’s another little stain on the blouse of the new interior minister: It was she who appointed Antonello Montante, the president of the Sicilian business association celebrated as an anti-mafia hero, as an expert in the agency that handles the management of seized mafia assets. Although by then the man was already under investigation for his mafia connections. Today Montante is in prison, sentenced to 14 years – for criminal association and espionage.

No, Luciana Lamorgese is not Salvini. But she is not expected to bring about a change in Italian domestic policy.