Giorgia Meloni is on track to winning. What’s next for Italy? | News

Rome, Italy – It is never in doubt. As pollsters have predicted during a tumultuous election campaign, Italy is set to be led by the toughest government since World War Two.

Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, a largely peripheral figure in Italian politics until a few years ago, won Sunday’s election. The 45-year-old is now expected to become prime minister, leading the right-wing coalition that garnered more than 43 percent of the vote.

“If we were called upon to govern this country, we would do so for all Italians, with the aim of uniting people rather than dividing them, to make them proud to be Italians, waving the flag Italy,” Meloni said in the early hours of Monday, in a brief speech after the first forecast results. “You have chosen us, and we will not betray you,” she said, visibly emotional.

Campaigning with the slogan “God, family and homeland”, Meloni has carried out an active campaign calling for the preservation of the “traditional” family and Christian identity, and of the country’s most populous and most importantly Italian patriots.

Critics warn that such a vision is one of exclusion and that a government led by Meloni would be one where civil rights are at stake – especially for the gay community – where access to abortion will be restricted and the lives of refugees and migrants, both newcomers and those already living in Italy, will be increasingly impeded.

The far-right leader has also pledged to impose a naval bloc and push back “massively illegal immigrants”, while putting the interests of Italians above everything else in the European Union.

Her approach to the EU reflects many bad years.

Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini (centre), hands on hips, with members of the Fascist Party, in Rome,
Italian brothers, with roots in neo-fascism, will form Italy’s most right-wing government since World War II [File: AP Photo]

Founded in 2012, Brothers of Italy captured the growing discontent caused by the eurozone debt crisis, which it blamed on “European officials”. ” and financial markets. According to critics, the tone is now more sober, but the substance remains the same.

“Her international allies reflect her far-right political vision, which will make it difficult to maintain relations,” said Pieri Ignazi, professor of political science at the University of Bologna. good with European institutions,” said Pieri Ignazi, professor of political science at the University of Bologna, referring to Viktor Orban of Hungary, Marine le Pen of France and Vox of Spain the party hopes to win. the same in next year’s election. He added: “Her position is to limit the integration of the European Union and hand power to each country.

Ignazi pointed to Meloni’s refusal last week to join the EU parliament condemning Hungary’s violations of democracy. “Such protective behavior with Orban shows an acceptance of what he did in terms of the limits of the rule of law and freedom of expression,” he said.

While other far-right politicians in Europe such as French nationalist Eric Zemmour and Vox leader Santiago Abascal rushed to congratulate Ms. Meloni’s victory, many mainstream leaders did not. appear more cautious.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he respects “democratic choice“Of the Italian people.

The European Commission said it hoped for a constructive relationship with the next Italian government.

The election was an unprecedented victory for the Italian Brothers as it was polled by just 4% in 2018. But questions are now being raised about how the party, whose members are mostly only experienced in local politics, will be able to find candidates capable of filling the shoes of ministers.

“This is a party that is used to being outside the system and has not had many opportunities to develop its leadership,” said Gregory Alegi, professor of History and Politics at Luiss University. “Now that it gets to the government by skipping an intermediary step… that would be a problem,” he said. A problem could emerge further at the EU level, Alegi said, where politicians need to know how to navigate often complex negotiations.

Basically, the party will learn on the job, but at the same time Italy is preparing to enter winter amid a sharp energy crisis and high inflation. New leadership will need knowledge, Alegi said, but also EU support, especially as the country is getting the biggest share of the EU Recovery Fund.

The front page of the Italian newspaper reported Meloni .'s victory
The front pages of Italy report Giorgia Meloni’s victory in the election. Far-right leader, euroceptic leader says she’s ready to run for “all Italians” [Vincenzo Pinto/AFP]

Washington is also watching closely.

Meloni has been clear about her support for Ukraine and sanctions against Moscow, but her coalition partners have openly expressed sympathy for Russian President Putin. Salvini, a longtime admirer of Putin, has repeatedly insisted sanctions should be reconsidered.

For his part, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had a personal friendship with the Russian leader and the two even went on vacation together. The 85-year-old said on Thursday that Putin only wanted to replace Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with a government “made up of decent people”, but he had encountered “unexpected resistance” in practice.

“We are ready to welcome any political force that can present itself more constructively in relations with Russia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said after the election.

Before the campaign, Meloni had asked her coalition partners to agree on supporting Ukraine. And Salvini’s relatively poor performance in the League election, compared to the Italian Brotherhood, has cemented her position.

Experts say the risk to Italy of leaving its decade-long transatlantic union is simply too high.

“In terms of Italian interests and linkages, there is no tactical advantage in running outside the Western alliance,” Alegi said.

“I don’t expect a U-turn in the middle of a motorway rider, the political costs will be too high.”

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