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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Italy: Salvini goes swimming and Giorgia Meloni rides the wave of success

By UME

Ever since the poll curves of Matteo Salvini’s Lega and the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party crossed, one had to wait for the election campaign to verify the accuracy of these polls. Since the Lega and Forza Italia, their two coalition partners, joined Mario Draghi’s government of national unity in February 2021, Giorgia Meloni and her Fratelli d’Italia party have embodied opposition to this broad coalition.

But who is Giorgia? Coming from a humble, hard-working background, she has been a member of the social right (destra sociale), the MSI and the successor party Alleanza Nazionale, which has its historic headquarters on Via della Scrofa in the heart of historic Rome, just a stone’s throw from an early age away from Parliament. She is a true Roman, whose “romanaccio” accent comes through whenever she indulges in lyrical flights of fancy. At the age of 29 she was elected MP and took over the vice-presidency of the House of Representatives. At the age of 31 she was youth minister in the Berlusconi government, who can be said to have a real talent for finding and promoting young, promising political figures with an open mind.

Your career has started. In 2013 she founded the Brothers of Italy party, which emerged from a split from Silvio Berlusconi’s party, fearing that her party’s own character might be diluted in the newly formed large centre-right People of Freedom formation. She traces this path in an autobiography that was very successful in Italy and the French version of which will be published in September of this year.

Italian pragmatism, which has never inspired us, has meant her party has always entered the centre-right coalition with the Lega and later Forza Italia in election dates since. The Fratelli d’Italia is growing slowly but steadily: 4% in the 2018 general election (giving it 5% of MEPs under the Italian electoral system), 6.4% in the 2019 European elections (seven MEPs in the European Parliament).

It is not involved in the Conte 1 government, unlike the Lega, which is allied with the Five Star Movement, nor in the Conte 2 government, in which the Lega was ousted in favor of a left-wing coalition. This uncompromising opposition position brought her first electoral victories today as she awaits Italy’s crucial general elections in 2023.

In the last municipal by-elections, the second round of which takes place this weekend, the Fratelli d’Italia party often overtook its coalition partners in the first round. The internal balances in the coalition are turned upside down, it seems that they have taken the lead as part of their rivalry with Matteo Salvini.

She is already beginning to claim the post of Council President, ie head of the executive branch, from her allies if the 2023 elections bring a victory for the centre-right coalition.

For their part, Matteo Salvini and the Lega pay for the attrition of power in times of crisis and perhaps for a less strongly Atlanticist position than Giorgia Meloni. In addition, Matteo Salvini has not been able to prove his oratory talent, with which he inspired the masses at election events, in the last two years.

For her part, Giorgia Meloni has long been concerned with her international image: she is the leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party (ECR party, European Parliament) and is regularly invited to address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in the US, where Marion Maréchal also gave a speech. There she claimed in the last issue in February 2022, among other things, that “the only way to be rebellious is to be conservative”.

An uninhibited right wing, a political intelligentsia that knows how to get the mechanisms of the coalition to work beyond ego disputes – at least until now: a winning ticket for 2023?

This article first appeared on  BOULEVARD VOLTAIRE , our partner in EUROPEAN MEDIA COOPERATION.

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