The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Antonio Tajani was elected today Saturday as the leader of Forza Italia, the conservative party founded 29 years ago by the billionaire businessman and politician Silvio Berlusconi, who died last month.

The 69-year-old Tajani, who was unanimously elected by the party’s national council, faces a difficult task as he must review the fortunes of a party whose popular support has been declining for years, even before the death of Silvio Berlusconi.

Tajani has spent most of his career outside Italy serving as European Commissioner in Brussels and as President of the European Parliament. He lacks the charisma of his predecessor and is not regarded by his country’s popular politicians.

“I am receiving an almost impossible legacy. It is not easy to lead a political movement that has had Silvio Berlusconi as its leader for almost 30 years,” Tajani told a gathering of the party’s national, regional and European representatives, speaking on stage. in front of a huge photo of Berlusconi.

Forza Italia is the junior partner among the three parties that make up Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government, behind the prime minister’s “Brothers of Italy” party and his League Matteo Salvini.

“We want to be the center of the center-right. We are different from our allies and we don’t intend to give up our identity,” said Tajani, who has served as foreign minister since taking over the government last October.

Recent polls give Forza Italia a support rate of around 7%, behind the League which appears at almost 10% and the Brothers of Italy close to 30%.

After starting his political career in a very small, royalist movement in the 1980s, Tajani joined Forza Italia when it was founded in 1994 and was Berlusconi’s representative in his first government that year.