Elections in Italy: victorious coalition of conservatives, post-fascists and the far right promises to govern for all Italians
Sylvie Claire / September 26, 2022
We will govern for all Italians": the leader of the Italian far right Giorgia Meloni, who wants to become Prime Minister after her victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections, has tried to reassure in the face of concerns expressed in her country and abroad.
After Sweden, the far right is making a new breakthrough in Europe, where for the first time since 1945 a post-fascist party finds itself at the gates of power.
By remaining in opposition to all the governments that have succeeded each other since the 2018 legislative elections, Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) has established itself as the main alternative, rising from 4.3% to a quarter of the vote, according to initial projections, becoming the first party on the peninsula.
"Italians have sent a clear message in favour of a right-wing government led by Fratelli d'Italia," reacted Ms. Meloni, affirming her ambition to become Prime Minister.
We will govern for all" Italians, she promised. "We will do so with the aim of uniting the people," she added in a speech of rallying and appeasement, acknowledging that the election campaign had been "violent and aggressive."
The coalition she is forming with the other far-right eurosceptic party, Matteo Salvini's League, and Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi's conservative party, will win about 43% of the vote, which will give her an absolute majority of seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
The formation founded in late 2012 by Giorgia Meloni with dissidents of Berlusconism is ahead of the Democratic Party (PD, left) of Enrico Letta, which failed to generate a useful vote to block the far right and falls below the 20% mark, in a context of low turnout (64.07%, compared to 73.86% in 2018).
The vice president of the PD Debora Seracchiani recognized the "victory of the right led by Giorgia Meloni", which marks "a sad evening for the country ».
This earthquake comes two weeks after the victory in Sweden of a conservative bloc including the Sweden Democrats (SD), a party with a neo-Nazi background that has made a strong breakthrough, becoming the Nordic country's largest right-wing party.
In what was perceived in Rome as a warning, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, recalled on Thursday that the EU has "instruments" to sanction member states that violate the rule of law and its common values.
"The Italians have offered a lesson in humility to the European Union, which, through the voice of Ms. von der Leyen, claimed to dictate their vote," said on Twitter the president of the French National Rally Jordan Bardella.
Brussels' bête noire, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki also sent their "congratulations" to Ms. Meloni on Sunday evening.
Mr. Orban, through his political director, Member of Parliament Balazs Orban, added this message: "We need more than ever friends who share a common vision and approach to Europe. Meloni "has shown the way to a proud and free Europe of sovereign nations," said Santiago Abascal, leader of the far-right Spanish party VOX.
Fratelli d'Italia owes its success as much to the wind of "degagism" blowing across the peninsula as to the charisma of its leader.
This 45-year-old Roman woman, who as a young activist said she admired Mussolini, has succeeded in de-demonizing her image and rallying around her name the fears and anger of millions of Italians in the face of soaring prices, unemployment, the threat of recession and the negligence of public services.
The next government will have to deal with the crisis caused by galloping inflation, as Italy is already burdened with a debt of 150% of GDP, the highest ratio in the euro zone after Greece.
In this country of chronic governmental instability, experts already agree on the short life expectancy of the victorious coalition, a marriage of reason between three allies with competing ambitions.
For Ms. Meloni, "the challenge will be to transform her electoral success into government leadership that can last, that is the great unknown," said Lorenzo De Sio, professor of political science at Luiss University in Rome, on Sunday evening.
Ms. Meloni, who has no government experience other than a brief stint at the Ministry of Youth (2008-2011), will have her work cut out for her to manage her bulky, much more experienced allies: Silvio Berlusconi has been head of government several times and Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister.
In the Ukrainian issue, Europe and Italy's allies, as a member of NATO, will also scrutinize the distribution of portfolios among the three parties. While Giorgia Meloni is an Atlanticist and supports the sanctions against Moscow, Mr. Salvini is opposed to them.