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Meloni, Letta spar over Marcinelle on 66th anniversary

FdI contrasts illegal/legals, PD says no second-class victims

(ANSA) - ROME, AUG 8 - Rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) leader and touted next premier Giorgia Meloni and centre-left Democratic Party (PD) leader Enricno Letta on Monday sparred on the significance of the 66th anniversary of the Marcinelle mining disaster that claimed the lives of 136 Italian migrant workers in Belgium on August 8, 1956.
    Meloni contrasted the legal Italian migrants who died 66 years ago with the illegal migrants that come to Italy today and are "very often a work force for organised crime or unscrupulous employers and gang masters who use them to drive down the wages of Italians".
    Letta said it was wrong to distinguish between "first class and second class victims".
    President Sergio Mattarella said "the emigration of our co-nationals and the sacrifice that this entailed marked the identity of Italy and the very process of European integration".
    Meloni also reaffirmed her right to claim the status of premiership candidate if, as expected, FdI leads the right/centre-right alliance to victory in the September 25 general election.
    She recalled the coalition's rule that the party who gets the most votes has its leader enshrined as candidate to be named possible premier by Mattarella.
    The FdI-led alliance is currently touted to win power by a comfortable margin.
    Its already high chances were boosted Sunday by former industry minister Carlo Calenda's pulling out of an electoral pact with the PD.
    Mloni has made migration a major plank of her platform saying she is ready to set up a "naval blockade" to stop migrant boats from North Africa. (ANSA).


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