Italy may be forced to face its fascist past as voters ready to elect far-right government

As Italy heads to the polls to choose its next government this Sunday, the country looks set to veer sharply to the right since Benito Mussolini.

Four years ago, Giorgia Meloni’s Italian Brotherhood, named after the opening words of Italy’s national anthem, was a far-right maverick with just 4% of the vote, and its roots were fascist. It was later and had too much angry nationalist rhetoric. For most Italians.

Since then, Meloni, 45, has gone from sister status to Italy’s right-wing political parties, including the anti-immigrant coalition led by Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, to dominate them. In Italy, the brothers have 25% support, double that of the federation, and Meloni is in a position to lead a right-wing coalition that could win enough votes to secure an unprecedented “majority” in parliament. .

Observers say Meloni got there by developing a smart and patient strategy. The cranky center-left, with the leading democrats trailing their Italian brethren by a few points and leader Enrico Letta all but conceding defeat, isn’t hurt.

“The whole left-of-center campaign is like, ‘Vote for us. [the right-wing coalition] If we win, it will be a disaster,” said Cecilia Emma Sotiretta, a professor of political science at the American University of Rome.

Meloni scooped opposition airtime

Unlike the Alliance, Meloni refused to join the latest Italian coalition led by Mario Draghi. The former European banker will begin leading the country towards post-pandemic recovery in early 2021 with the help of massive EU funding.

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Meanwhile, Meloni, outside of government, was able to scoop up all of the opposition’s airtime. Io Sono Giorgia, I’m Giorgia.

In it, she shared stories of being bullied as a girl because of her weight, and, like Hungarian far-right leader Viktor Orban, accused an “illiberal” government she admired so much of being Christian. share denunciations of what they consider to be the main threat to European values. Elite-led political her correctness, LGBT lobbying, Brussels bureaucracy, global banking intrigues, migrant “invasion” across the Mediterranean.

Observers say the prospect of Meloni becoming Italy’s next prime minister, just a century after fascist leader Benito Mussolini came to power, is evidence that Italy is not facing a fascist past. Is called.

But support for the far-right leader has proven to be an artful crafting of himself as both a dissident and a powerful figure in a country that has been in political turmoil since the 1990s when corruption scandals put an end to post-war politics. is coming from order. Since then, voters have gravitated toward “new” solutions to old problems, according to observers. From billionaire media mogul Berlusconi and the Five Star protest movement to technocrat Draghi, originally called Super Mario.

“Melloni is benefiting from the massive wave of discontent that characterizes the Italian electorate,” Sotiretta said. “She has not been in government for several years, so she can present herself as a compelling alternative.

She’s also charismatic, stirring up crowds with deafening campaigns and dominating political opponents on talk shows with her trademark Roman cynicism.

In front of election signs, crowds hold flags written in Italian.
Three days before the Italian general election, the right-wing coalition’s final rally drew thousands of supporters, who were expected to win for Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party. (Megan Williams/CBC)

“She was not part of this community.”

Meloni became politically active as a teenager when he joined a small group of post-fascist Italian social movements located on the edge of Rome’s working-class left-wing district of Garbatella.

“She often refers to Garbatella as a way to show that she is a commoner’s woman, tough, outspoken and a commoner,” said Gianni Rivolta, a neighborhood historian and author. “But this is an outdated version of our neighborhood, a stereotype of who lives here. It’s true that she grew up partly here, but she’s part of this community.” It’s not part of the department and doesn’t reflect that at all.”

An elderly man in a blue sweater is looking into the distance
Garbatella’s Gianni Rivolta, a historian of Rome’s working-class districts, notes that Meloni often refers to the district to denote that she was “of the people.” (Megan Williams/CBC)

When asked at a neighborhood morning market, most locals said they would not vote for Meloni. This shows that her appeal extends beyond the core of her far-right supporters.

Fruit vendor Giasmine Sokari, who moved to Italy from Morocco 35 years ago, fondly recalls Meloni and her mother shopping at her stall before moving out of the neighborhood. Sokari, she says, is open to voting for the far right because she supports the far right’s position against restrictions on same-sex marriage and abortion and doesn’t get misled by anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“We foreigners are like guests. We have to respect the rules,” she said. “I have never experienced racism in Italy because I respect the rules … now people get on boats and planes and cross over to Italy and get confused. Let’s hope.”

A woman with a scarf on her head is smiling. She is standing in front of a fruit stand.
Jasmine Socari, a fruit vendor, photographed near Rome in Garbatella, Italy, September 2022. She sells Meloni and her mother her fruit and states that she supports some of her policies. (Megan Williams/CBC)

abandoned the idea of ​​a naval blockade

But Meloni’s calls for a naval blockade in the Mediterranean to push back migrants leaving North Africa weakened as the elections drew nearer.

“She and Salvini are really concerned about the cultural and religious impact of immigration,” said Roberto Menotti, a political expert and editor-in-chief of Aspenia Online. “But it would cost a lot to stop the flow of the entire Mediterranean. That’s why the naval blockade idea was dropped. It’s sheer insanity.”

If elected, Meloni promised to continue Draghi’s prudent financial policies and solidarity with the European Union and NATO in supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. But with a looming recession, skyrocketing inflation and energy costs, and the potential for historically massive public debt, Meloni has his hands full.

Neighborhood in Italy. There is graffiti on the wall.
Image from Garbatella, a working-class, left-wing neighborhood in Rome where far-right leader Meloni grew up. (Megan William/CBC)

Menotti says he will watch most closely how the far-right will deal with France and Germany if it forms the next government in Italy.

“France and Germany are Italy’s two largest trading partners and have a great deal of influence over all decisions made at the European Central Bank, from which we borrow money,” he said. If so, how will they deal with this diplomatic dilemma?”

Voting will take place on Sunday, with full results expected by Monday morning local time.

Italy may be forced to face its fascist past as voters ready to elect far-right government

Source link Italy may be forced to face its fascist past as voters ready to elect far-right government

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