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Italy parliament elects right-wing Fontana as new speaker

Fontana's election comes day after La Russa elected senate speaker.

Lorenzo Fontana, a prominent member of Matteo Salvini's right-wing Lega party, was elected speaker of Italy's chamber of deputies on Friday.

Fontana, 42, was elected in the fourth round of voting, with 222 votes, ahead of the required majority of 197.

A former cabinet minister, Fontana is described as ultra-conservative and is accused of being anti-gay and pro-Russia.

During the vote MPS from the centre-left Partito Democratico - including Alessandro Zan whose bill aimed at fighting homophobia was blocked by right-wing senators last year - displayed a banner that read: "No to a homophobic, pro-Putin speaker of the house".

Fontana's election comes the day after Ignazio La Russa, a founding member of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia (FdI), was elected speaker of the senate.

FdI leader Giorgia Meloni, poised to become Italy's next prime minister after triumphing in the recent general election, congratulated Fontana, stating her conviction that he will be able to fill the role with a "sense of the institutions, balance and impartiality."

Meloni is working to form a right-wing government with her allies from Salvini's Lega and the centre-right Forza Italia party of Silvio Berlusconi.

The new speakers Fontana and La Russa will now be part of talks with President Sergio Mattarella on the formation of the government which is expected to be in place by the end of October.
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