“I am a woman. I am a mother. I am Italian. I am Christian.” This is how 45-year-old Giorgia Meloni presents herself. Her party, with fascist roots, is on the verge of winning the Italian elections.
With only days left until the Italian parliamentary elections, everything indicates that the Italian Brotherhood (Fratelli d’Italia, FID) will be the biggest winner in the elections.
Party leader Meloni could become Italy’s first female prime minister.
Since dictator Benito Mussolini seized power in 1922, Italy has not been ruled by a leader of the far right.
Polls from 9/11 show that the FID could get up to 24 percent of the vote in the election. By comparison, only 4% of voters voted for the party in 2018, NTB summarized.
Meloni does not hide that the Italian fraternity has ideological roots in Italian neo-fascism, as historian Elisabetta Cassina Wolf explains to VG by phone from the Italian capital, Rome.
It’s clear in the use of political symbols and in the political issues Meloni faces, she explains.
The Italy expert has written a book on the political history of Italy and recently published a book on nationalism and right-wing radicalism in Europe.
Among the issues that characterize Meloni’s political message are strict conservative values, expressed in support of family policy and opposition to gay rights; and strong ethnic nationalism, which is expressed in anti-immigration tactics.
– It’s hard to compare her party to Norwegian conditions, but you can compare her to Marine Le Pen in France or Viktor Orban in Hungary.
Wolf explains that Meloni represented a conservative nationalist trend in Italian politics, with the right shifting more to the right.
At the same time, it belongs to what the research literature calls the “left side” within fascism and neo-fascism. This means that it wants a strong social policy, protectionism with strong state management of the economy.
– Do you think she will become prime minister?
It is too early to say, then, that the right must win a clear majority. As many as a third of Italian voters are still hesitant, so we’ll have to wait until Sunday and see.
The alliance is on the right
The Italian Brotherhood (FID) is part of a far-right coalition with Matteo Salvini’s fiercely anti-immigration party (Liga) and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI).
Together, these three parties are expected to get 46 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections.
Italian expert Wolf attended the last electoral meeting of the right-wing coalition on Thursday evening. This is her assessment of the three parties:
– Berlusconi’s time is over, he did not attract the audience and had the least number of followers. It was Salvini who came up with the most radical and controversial plans. Meloni has matured into this role, garnered the most support, and is a clear leader of the coalition. She appeared to be much milder than before.
She moved away from controversial value issues, such as gay rights and abortion, opened up to collaborate with the left on constitutional issues, affirmed Italy’s entrenchment in NATO and the European Union, and supported Ukraine, says the historian.
It looks bad for the left-wing coalition, led by the Democratic Party, which received just 28.5 percent of the vote in the same poll. The five-star movement ended up with 13 percent, NTB wrote.
Longtime Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta conceded electoral defeat, but encouraged voters to remain neutral to vote for his party.
The September 25 elections came after Prime Minister Mario Draghi failed to form a new unity government this summer and was forced to hand in his resignation.
The far-right coalition has already made a number of expensive electoral promises, including those related to the energy crisis and the rising cost of living, but it has not yet said where the money will come from.
Meloni also said that she will renegotiate an important agreement with the European Union, in which 200 billion euros, equivalent to 2,000 billion Norwegian kroner, has been earmarked for post-coronavirus reconstruction. However, this required Italy to implement a number of reforms.
The left warns that the money may now be gone. Italy is one of the countries with the highest debt in the Eurozone.
Meloni’s opponents accused her of posing a threat to refugees, women’s rights, and LGBT families.
“Fake news,” responds Meloni, who maintains that God, family, and religious identity are central, but has no plans to reverse rights, such as the right to abortion.
At the same time, she said that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children.
Greetings to Putin
Meloni also promised to cut taxes and bureaucracy, increase the defense budget, close Italy’s borders to protect the country from “Islamization” and fight the “gay lobby”.
However, the right is deeply divided in its view of Russia. While Meloni supports arms deliveries to Ukraine, her partner Matteo Salvini is vehemently opposed to sanctions. Salvini has long been a fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin, NTB writes.
For its part, the left will continue the path set by former Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
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