A party with neo-fascist roots won the most votes in Italy’s national election, setting the stage for talks to form the country’s first right-wing government since World War II, with Giorgia Meloni as Italy’s first female prime minister. She was
Italy’s right-leaning immediately shifted the geopolitics of Europe, placing Meloni’s Eurosceptic Brothers of Italy in the position to lead the European Union’s founding member and its third-largest economy. The Italian left warned of “dark days” ahead and vowed to put Italy at the center of Europe.
Right-wing leaders across Europe immediately applauded Meloni’s victory, 45, as sending a historic, nationalist message to Brussels. This was followed by right-wing victories in Sweden and recent gains by the far-right in France and Spain.
Still, turnout in the Italian election on Sunday was a historic low of 64%, and voters suggested that voters stay at home in protest, frustrated by the backroom deals that made the country’s last three governments and parties in outgoing Premier Mario Draghi. Mash-up done. national unity government
In contrast, Meloni was seen as a new face in a joyous period of Italian governments and many Italians appeared to be voting for change, analysts said. Nathalie Tosi, director of the Rome-based institute in Italy, said the victory of Meloni’s just 10-year-old Italian brothers was more about Italian dissatisfaction with the decades-old status quo than any surge in neo-fascist or far-right sentiment. . international affairs.
“The main reason I would say is that a large majority of (voters) … will vote for this party is because it is the new kid on the block,” he said.
London political analyst Wolfango Piccoli said the election’s sharp tilt to the right, “confirms that the Italian voter is unstable,” noting that an estimated 30% of voters in the 2018 elections went for a party different from their choice. Were. Meloni, whose party traces its origins to the post-war neo-fascist Italian social movement, sought to sound a unified tone, noting that the Italians were ultimately able to determine their leaders.
“If we are called to rule this nation, we will do it for all. We will do it for all Italians and we will do it for the purpose of uniting the people.” “… Chose us. We will not betray it.”
Near-final results showed the centre-right coalition netting 44% of the parliamentary vote, with Meloni’s Brothers of Italy snatching 26% in their biggest victory in a decade-long meteoric rise. Its coalition partners split the remainder, with the Immigration League party led by Matteo Salvini winning 9% and former-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia winning around 8% of the vote.
The centre-left Democratic Party and its allies had around 26% support, while the populist 5-Star Movement – which was the biggest vote-getter in the 2018 parliamentary election – saw its vote share up to 15%.
While the centre-right was the clear winner, government formation is still weeks away and will include consultations with party leaders and President Sergio Mattarella. Meanwhile, Draghi takes on the role of a caretaker.
The election, which took place six months before the fall of Draghi’s government, came at a critical time for Europe as it confronts Russia’s war in Ukraine and the associated rising energy costs, which have cost ordinary Italians as well as industry. also affected.
The Meloni-led government is expected to largely follow Italy’s current foreign policy, including its pro-NATO stance and strong support for arms supplies to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression. , even his coalition partners take a different tone.
Both Berlusconi and Salvini have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. While both have distanced themselves from their invasion of Ukraine, Salvini warns that EU sanctions against Moscow are hurting Italian industry. Berlusconi also denounced Putin’s attack in the Donbass as an incident imposed on him by pro-Moscow separatists.
A major shift and the potential to create friction with other EU countries is likely to come on migration. Meloni has called for a naval blockade to prevent migrant boats from leaving North African shores, and proposed screening potential asylum seekers in Africa, not Europe.
Salvini has made it clear he wants the league to retake the interior ministerial post, where he once implemented a strict anti-migrant policy. But he may face an internal leadership challenge, with Meloni’s party outperforming the league even in its northeastern stronghold.
On relations with the European Union, analysts note that Meloni moderated his message during the campaign for all his Euroscape rhetoric and that there is little room to maneuver, given Italy’s economic recovery funding from Brussels. Looking at the wind. Italy secured 191.5 billion euros, the largest part of the EU’s 750 billion euro recovery package, and is tied to some reform and investment milestones to achieve it all.
That said, Meloni has criticized the EU’s recent recommendation to suspend Hungary for 7.5 billion euros over concerns about democratic backsliding, defending autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orban as the elected leader in the democratic system.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen praised Meloni for “resisting the threats of a democratic and arrogant European Union”.
Santiago Abascal, leader of Spain’s far-right Vox opposition, tweeted that Meloni had “shown the way for a proud and free Europe of sovereign nations that can cooperate on behalf of everyone’s security and prosperity.”
Meloni is the chair of a right-wing European conservative and reformist group in the European Parliament, which includes her Italian brothers, Poland’s Nationalist Law and Justice Party, Spain’s far-right Vox and the right-wing Sweden Democrats, who have just won big there. is on the stage of cracking down on crime and limiting immigration.
“The trend that emerged in Sweden two weeks ago was confirmed in Italy,” acknowledged Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta, calling Monday a “sad day for Italy, for Europe”.
“We look forward to dark days. We fought by all means to avoid this outcome? Letta said in a gloomy news conference. “The (Democratic Party) will not let Italy leave the heart of Europe.”
Thomas Christiansen, professor of political science at the Louis University of Rome and executive editor of the Journal of European Integration, said Italy has a tradition of pursuing a coherent foreign and European policy that is larger than individual party interests.
“Whatever Meloni can do, it has to be conducted by his coalition partners and in fact with the established consensus of Italian foreign policy,” Cristian said.