On the centenary of the march on Rome, a party with neo-fascist roots won the elections in Italy and came -legitimately- to power. The analogy is suggestive and tempting. But it does not help to understand what the government of Giorgia Meloni, the first led by a woman in the country. Not a reissue of fascism, but an executive obliged for her survival to a delicate balance between allies and the international links of Europe‘s third largest economy.
First, the characteristics of the trump drive the leader of Brothers from Italy to caution: his party won but did not sweep. He grew up mainly to the detriment of his allies Matteo Salvini Y Silvio Berlusconi, going from 4 percent in 2018 to 26.5 percent today. Since 1994, the right-wing bloc has had the same number of votes, just over 40%. The unprecedented abstention and the errors of the opposition, which appeared divided despite an electoral law that favored coalitions, had much to do with propitiating a victory that was only apparently simple.
That’s why, Meloni knows that in the coming months he will have to be patient. An experienced and astute politician, in Parliament since 2006, will not commit Salvini’s mistake who, blinded by the consensus attributed to him by the polls, asked for “full powers” in 2019. A delusions of grandeur that marked the beginning of his downfall.
The most lucid analysts predict that in the first months of his government, Meloni will continue with the same line of the electoral campaign: reassure public opinion and international allies about Italy’s loyalty to NATO, support for ukraine and orderly management of public accounts.
The contingency pushes her to maintain this line: for Italy, a country with 2.7 billion dollars of public debt, the room for maneuver will be very small. Obeying international ties will also be the necessary condition to receive the 220 billion of aid from the post-pandemic Recovery Plan, almost completed by Draghi.
In any case, Much will say the election of the next Minister of Economy.
“We need a person with authority who knows how to reassure the national and international markets because the Minister of the Economy is the first position that will be judged not only in Italy but also abroad where someone could have fun speculating,” he said. Guido Crossettofounder of the Brothers of Italy and Meloni’s trusted adviser: “If the turbulence begins with a poorly chosen name, the government will have little to do. Meloni has been aware of this for a long time.”
Similarly, on the home front Meloni will need to reassure allies Salvini Y Berlusconi, weakened by the loss of consensus and recalcitrant to be in the shadow of a woman. Almost a punishment for two alpha males like them. In fact, Salvini has already started with the rudenessthreatening not to enter the government if he does not obtain the post of interior minister.
The synthesis between the allies seems especially complex economicallygiven the different demands of the electoral bases of the parties that make up the coalition: Salvini’s League defends Northern businessmen, FBerlusconi retirees, and Meloni is strong among categories, such as taxi drivers and spa owners, who hope not to lose their privileges in less liberalized sectors.
In general, the meeting points seem to be generic pro-business policies and a tax cut for high incomes called flat tax. In this aspect, the right 2.0. Italian looks more like Tories of Liz Truss than to Mussolini’s statism and corporatism.
The far-right imprint of the next government will be more evident in the social rightswhere the margins of maneuver and the coincidences between the allies are greater: strong nationalism, elimination of social protection measures -starting with the unemployment subsidy known as reddito di cittadinanza-the possible restriction of some civil rights and the right to abortion (in continuity with what has happened in the Marches since the Brothers of Italy assumed the government of the region), the defense and promotion of heteronormative “traditional family”a policy of hard hand towards immigrants, with the proposal of a “sea blockade” to prevent new arrivals by sea. It is foreseeable that these will be the points of greatest conflict between the government and opposition movements and parties.
With these premises, Will Meloni’s then be just an ultra version of the government of former banker Mario Draghi?
There are elements that allow us to doubt it. The leader of the Brothers of Italy has ambitious projectswhich point to the long term.
The Constitution is in their sights drafted by the anti-fascist parties after the Second World War.
Brothers of Italy proposes a reform that seeks both introduce presidentialism Y modify the articles that establish the primacy of European law over Italian lawin the same way as The Justice and Freedom party did it in Poland, one of the allies of Brothers of Italy in the EU.
A project that would eliminate in one fell swoop the two main barriers – parliamentarism and European rules – that have historically curbed extremist tendencies in Italy and the resurgence of tensions and conflicts in the Old Continent.
A project that will not be easy and will take time. But that Meloni is determined to promote.
“In Europe, everyone is worried about Meloni in office and they say, what is going to happen?” He slipped in one of his last campaign acts. “I tell them what is going to happen: the party is over“.
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