Historic victory for the far right in the Italian elections

After Sweden, the far-right made a new breakthrough in Europe, with the victory of Giorgia Meloni in the legislative elections, Sunday, in Italy, where a neo-fascist party will have the opportunity to rule the country for the first time since 1945.

After remaining in the opposition in all successive governments since the legislative elections in 2018, the Fratelli d’Italia party has established itself as a major alternative, and its share of the vote has moved from 4.3 percent four years ago to about a quarter of the vote (between 22 and 26 percent), according to Exit polls from the polls Sunday, to become the leading party in the country.

Meloni announced that she would head the next Italian government, and said, “We will rule for all” Italians.

The party’s alliance with the far-right League led by Matteo Salvini and the conservative Forza Italia party led by Silvio Berlusconi is expected to win up to 47 percent of the vote. With the complex game of constituencies, this alliance is supposed to secure the majority of seats in the House and Senate.

If these results are confirmed, Fratelli d’Italia and the League will have together obtained “the highest percentage of votes ever recorded by far-right parties in the history of Western Europe from 1945 to today,” according to the Italian Center for Electoral Studies.

This will constitute a real earthquake in Italy, one of the founding countries of Europe and the third economic power in the eurozone, but also in the European Union, which will have to deal with the politician close to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.

In this context, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted that the EU has “tools” to punish member states that violate the rule of law and its common values.

“Today, you can help write history,” Meloni wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning, addressing her supporters. “In Europe, they are all worried to see Meloni in government,” she said. “The holiday is over. Italy will begin to defend its national interests.”

For his part, the head of the anti-immigrant League, Matteo Salvini, told reporters as he headed to the vote that his party would be “on the podium of winners: first or second and, in the worst case, third”.

“I look forward to returning from tomorrow to the government of this extraordinary country,” added Salvini, who served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior in the government of Giuseppe Conte, (2018-2019).

Meloni, a former admirer of Mussolini and whose slogan “God is the homeland, the family”, succeeded in making her party accepted as a political force and raising issues that emulated the discontent and frustration of its citizens by remaining in the opposition, while other parties supported the national unity government led by Mario Draghi.

Tightening the limits

Whatever government emerges from the elections to assume its duties from the end of October, it is already facing obstacles on its way.

It will have to tackle the crisis caused by the sharp rise in prices at a time when Italy faces a debt of 150 percent of its gross domestic product, the highest in the eurozone after Greece. In this context, Italy is in dire need of the continuation of the aid distributed by the European Union within the framework of its plan for economic recovery after Covid-19, of which this country is the first beneficiary by a large difference from other countries.

“Italy cannot allow itself to dispense with these sums of money,” historian Mark Lazar told AFP, noting that “the margin of action against Meloni is very limited” on the economic front. On the other hand, it can side with Warsaw and Budapest in their battle with Brussels “on questions of defending the national interest against European interests”.

As did the leader of the French far-right, Marine Le Pen, Meloni eventually abandoned her project to leave the European Union, but she calls for a “review of the rules of the Stability Pact” suspended due to the health crisis, which sets the ceilings for budget deficits and debts of countries at 3 percent and 60 percent. percent of its gross domestic product, respectively.

On social issues, Meloni, who comes from Rome, adopts strict conservative positions. She declared in June, “Yes to the normal family, no to the LGBT lobby! Yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology!”

Its rise to power will also lead to the closure of the borders of a country whose shores arrive annually by tens of thousands of migrants, which raises the fears of non-governmental organizations that secretly help migrants crossing the sea in rickety boats to escape misery in Africa.

Experts already agree that such a coalition government in which Meloni will face a real challenge in dealing with confusing allies, whether Silvio Berlusconi or Matteo Salvini, will not last long in a country known for its lack of government stability.

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