Italy votes, extreme right sees itself in power

Italy votes, extreme right sees itself in power

More than 50 million Italians are called to the polls on Sunday to elect their parliament, where the extreme right, if not surprised, should come into force and propose the prime minister who will succeed Mario Draghi.

“I play to win, not to take part,” said Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-immigrant league, who sees his party “on the podium: first, second, third at worst,” told the press as he went to the polls of the ballot.

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

Also voting this morning were the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and Enrico Letta, leader of the Democratic Party (PD, centre-left).

At just 45, Giorgia Meloni, leader of the post-fascist party Fratelli d’Italia, who is credited with almost a quarter of the vote in recent polls, is the favorite to lead a coalition government in which the extreme right largely dominates the classic right.

An earthquake on the scale of Italy, founding country of the European Community and third economy of the eurozone, but also of the EU, which was supposed to deal with this ideologue close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

“In Europe everyone is worried about seeing Meloni in government (…) The party is over, Italy will start defending its national interests,” she warned during her election campaign.

This ex-Mussolini supporter, whose motto is “God, Country, Family”, managed to demonize her party and catalyze the dissatisfaction and frustration of her compatriots by campaigning in opposition while all other parties ruled the government national unity supported by Mario Draghi.

But the crowd is not told: “Unpredictable, the elections are played emotionally and at the last moment,” reminds AFP Emiliana De Blasio, professor of sociology at the Luiss University of Rome, while emphasizing the key role of the undecided, estimated around 20 % and the importance of the final participation rate.

The notes of the 5-star movement (M5S, ex-anti-system), which are credited with introducing a minimum income for the poorest, and the locally established PD could cause surprises, especially in the south of the country.

– Cadenassage –

Whatever government emerges from the elections, which will not take office until late October, its path already seems riddled with pitfalls.

He will have to deal with the crisis caused by rising prices as Italy collapses under a debt of 150% of GDP, the highest in the euro zone behind Greece. In this context, the windfall of Europe’s post-pandemic recovery plan, of which Italy is by far the first beneficiary, will be crucial to keep the peninsula afloat.

“Italy cannot afford to forego these sums of money,” notes historian Marc Lazar for AFP, assessing Meloni’s economic room for maneuver as “very limited”. On the other hand, alongside Warsaw and Budapest, she could compete against Brussels “on questions of defending national interests against European interests”.

Like France‘s Marine Le Pen, Giorgia Meloni has finally given up leaving the euro, but she is calling for a “revision of the rules of the Stability Pact”, which has been suspended due to the health crisis and caps the deficit at 3% GDP and 60% for the debt.

When it comes to social issues, this pure Roman woman is ultra-conservative: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby! Yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology! Yes to the culture of life, not to the abyss of death!”, announced in June the man who also promised to fight “against the Islamization of Europe”.

His seizure of power would also lead to the lockdown of the country where tens of thousands of migrants land every year, a prospect that worries NGOs that rescue boats fleeing poverty in Africa.

While Italy’s government instability is legendary, pundits already agree on the short life expectancy of this coalition, in which Ms Meloni will have plenty to manage her lumbering allies, be it the indestructible Silvio Berlusconi or Matteo Salvini.


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