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Italian elections: Another victory in Europe for the far right

After Sweden, the extreme right scores a new victory in Europe: The Fratelli d’Italia party of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia, FdI) under Giorgia Meloni prevails in the parliamentary elections held yesterday Sunday in Italy, where — for the first time since the end of World War II— a post-fascist party is heading to rule the country.

Remaining in opposition, against all successive governments since the 2018 parliamentary elections, the FdI has established itself as the main alternative and has seen its percentage take off from 4.3% four years ago to almost a quarter of votes today (from 22 to 26%), according to the first exit polls from the polling stations: in other words, it turns into the first party of the Italian parliament.

The alliance he formed with Italy’s other far-right party, Matteo Salvini’s League, and with Forza Italia (FI), Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing faction, is on course to garner as much as 47% of the vote and, after the complicated game of constituencies, is expected to have an absolute majority of seats, both in the House and in the Senate.

If this result is confirmed, the FdI and the League together will have secured “the highest percentage of votes for far-right parties ever recorded in the history of Western Europe from 1945 to the present,” the Italian Center for Electoral Studies (CISE) pointed out. .

The faction founded at the end of 2012 by Giorgia Meloni with fellow Berlusconi dissidents overtook Enrico Letta’s Democratic Party (PD), which failed to block the path of the far right and is limited to between 17 and 21% of the vote.

The far-right alliance has a “clear lead in both the House and the Senate,” Matteo Salvini said with satisfaction on Twitter.

This political earthquake comes two weeks after the one in Sweden, where a conservative alliance that included the Sweden Democrats (SD), a party that emerged from the neo-Nazi movement, scored an electoral victory, becoming the largest party in the Nordic country. SD and FdI belong to the same political family in the European Parliament.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, making an intervention that was received in Rome (with displeasure) as a warning, reminded a few days ago that the EU has the “tools” to punish states that violate the rule of law and common values.

Mrs Meloni has declared in Brussels that she will demand a review of the terms of Italy’s relationship with the EU: “the party is over, Italy will start defending its national interests”.

In particular, it demands a revision of the Stability Pact and the renegotiation, to take inflation into account, of the colossal 190 billion euro aid package agreed to be granted by its partners to the third economy of the eurozone in order to recover from the blow of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Many Europeans are also concerned about Ms Meloni’s stance on social issues, who projects a “fatherland, religion, family” vision and is seen as ideologically close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

“Let’s make history”

The Brothers of Italy owe their success to the unfulfilled promises of their opponents, the wind of rejection of the political order blowing across the peninsula and the charisma of their leader.

The 45-year-old Roma, who in her youth declared herself an admirer of Benito Mussolini, managed to demonize herself and her party’s image as well as capitalize on the fears and anger of millions of Italians in the face of exploding prices and unemployment, the threat of recession and the inadequacies of the state apparatus.

“Today, you can help make history,” she tweeted to her followers yesterday.

Whatever the composition of the Italian government that will emerge from yesterday’s elections, which will take office at the end of October at the earliest, its path already seems strewn with ambushes and its room for maneuver very narrow. He will be called upon to deal with the crisis caused by skyrocketing inflation, at a time when Italy has a public debt that reaches 150% of its GDP.

In the country where government instability is a chronic phenomenon, pollsters are already giving a short life expectancy to the alliance won yesterday, a marriage of convenience between three leaders with competing ambitions.

Ms. Meloni, with no government experience beyond her brief stint at the Youth Ministry (2008-2011), will have her hands full trying to handle her much more experienced allies. Silvio Berlusconi has been Prime Minister several times, Matteo Salvini Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister.

On the Ukraine file, the EU and other allies of NATO member Italy will put the division of portfolios between the three parties under the microscope. While Mrs. Meloni is a staunch supporter of the Atlantic alliance and is in favor of the sanctions imposed on Russia, Mr. Salvini is against it.

Source: News Beast

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