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The intriguing story of former MEP Lara Comi

Lara Comi [personal archive]

Lara Comi says goodbye. After two consecutive European legislatures, the young woman won’t sit in the next European Parliament. The leader of Forza Italia (FI), Silvio Berlusconi, was head of the list and was elected in more than one constituency. The 82-old politician was then obliged to indicate where he intended to be declared elected, and he chose the seat won in the constituency of North-West, the same as Lara Comi. By taking for himself the place gained by Forza Italia in the aforementioned electoral area, Comi was automatically excluded and she won’t be an MEP again.

Berlusconi’s party still in trouble with justice

It is Comi’s personal legal troubles that led to this situation. Comi has been charged by the Italian authorities of illegal financing and corruption. Marco Bonometti, president of Confindustria Lombardy, one of the regional branches of the talian employers’ federation and national chamber of commerce, has allegedly granted €31,000 of illegal money to a company linked to Comi. According to the officials who are conducting the inquiry, Bonemetti is suspected to have given the money to the enterprise of which the young women is a member.

‘I can explain’

The ongoing investigation was made public a few weeks before the European elections. The fact that one of Forza Italia’s top candidates got involved in this inquiry still to be concluded has created a reputation problem for the party. Forza Italia was already shaken six years ago, when its leader, Silvio Berlusconi, was convicted of tax fraud. He was condemned to four year of prison, where he never went. Three years of condemnation were pardoned, and since Berlusconi at that time was aged more than 70, he was exempted from imprisonment. He was forced to social works, instead, and banned for two years from politics.

Now history seems to repeat itself. It has to be reminded that there is no final sentence against Comi, so she is not guilty until the opposite is proved. And it is Comi’s willingness to demonstrate her innocence that led to her non re-election. According to the official version given by Comi, it was her to ask Silvio Berlusconi to take the seat conquered in the North-West.

The 36-old politician had the intention to renounce anyway to go to Brussels in order to dismantle any allegation and she wants to do this without the shield of the MEP immunity. Berlusconi and Comi had a private meeting to talk about the situation. “I thank President Berlusconi, who during the meeting last Wednesday invited me several times to continue my work”, Comi said once the face-to-face discussion was over. “Despite this, I communicated my irrevocable decision to be free from any political office because I want to defend myself against the accusations without making use of parliamentary immunity”.

‘Beau geste’ or not?

Some believe that truth is different from the official version given to the press. Berlusconi himself would have decided to choose the seat gained in Comi’s constituency in order to kick out the young woman, leaving her to her destiny.

After all, Berlusconi said he decided alone, without mentioning Comi’s proposal to leave her seat. But rumors or not rumors, Lara Comi is out of the European Parliament.

Lara Comi in figures

Born in Garbagnate Milanese, 15 kilometers from Milan, in 1983, Lara Comi was elected MEP for the first time in 2009. When he sat for the first time in the European Parliament, she was only 26 years old. During the VIII legislature (2014-2019) she was the vicepresident of the EPP group, and a quite active member of the European Parliament, both in the committee for Internal Market and in the Plenary.

According to the evaluation made by the web portal mepranking.eu, Comi is 58th out of 751 MEPs for written questions, 47th for speeches and public interventions, and he participated to 87% of all Plenary sessions (225 presences, 18 excused absences, 35 absences).

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