Italy Votes Decisively For Right Wing Giorgia Meloni, The Nation's 1st Female Prime Minister

by Swarajya Staff - Sep 26, 2022 06:10 PM +05:30 IST
Italy Votes Decisively For Right Wing Giorgia Meloni, The Nation's 1st Female Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
Snapshot
  • Giorgia Meloni is considered to be pro-life, anti-mass immigration, anti-globalisation and a proud Christian. She is also a sharp critic of consumerism and financial speculation.

A coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s conservative Brothers of Italy has won a decisive victory in Italy’s election.

She will be the nation's first female prime minister since the Italian unification back in 1861.

Giorgia Meloni is considered to be pro-life, anti-mass immigration, anti-globalisation and a proud Christian. She is also a sharp critic of consumerism and financial speculation.

Her slogan for the campaign was 'God, country and family'.

Meloni's coalition secured more than 43 per cent of the vote. This is enough to give the coalition a clear parliamentary majority.

The leftwing Democratic Party has conceded defeat and stated that they will lead the opposition in the parliament. They secured around 20 per cent of the vote.

“We haven’t arrived — this is a starting point. From tomorrow, we have to demonstrate what we are worth. It’s time for responsibility — we won’t betray Italy . . . We will govern this nation on behalf of everyone,” Meloni said, as per a report from FT.

Meloni's party has been branded far-right by some observers.

Her views can perhaps best be understood by her own speech. One speech of her has gone rather viral on social media. It is doing the rounds in India, being praised by Republican senators in America and even being talked about by South Koreans.

She, it seems, is right wing but not in the libertarian sense but more in a Burkean sense.

The right wing coalition included Matteo Salvini’s nationalist League and former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

Meloni broke away from Berlusconi’s party back in 2012, to launch the Brothers of Italy.

Speaking about that decision in today's victory speech, she said, "I quoted a sentence from Saint Francis: ‘start doing what is necessary, then what is possible. In the end, you will find yourself able to do the impossible. That is what we have done now.”

The turnout in the elections might be concerning for some observers of democracy. It was merely 64 per cent. The previous record for low turnout was 73 per cent in 2018.

Meloni's party had secured a meagre 4 per cent in the 2018 elections.

This is what, some analysts believe, worked in her advantage. Hers was the only major party to stay out of Mario Draghi's national unity coalition.

There is concern in Brussels about what her victory will mean for the EU project. Ursula Von Der Leyen, president of the European Commission, just days before the election, issued a not so veiled threat to the voters in Italy.

Meloni responded by posting a video of herself, smiling cheerfully along with the large crowd that had gathered to hear her speak.

Meloni was once a Euroskeptic but now she has changed her views, at least publicly.

“The situation of Italy, of the EU, now requires a contribution from everyone,” she said.

“If we are called to govern the nation, we shall do so for everyone: to bring together a people, exalting what unites rather than what divides [and] giving to the Italian people a pride in waving the Tricolore [Italy’s national flag of green, white and red]," she added.

RAI, Italy’s national broadcaster, estimates that the right-wing coalition will have a majority of around 32 and 52 seats in the 400-member lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.

Followed by a majority of 14 to 26 seats in the 200-strong Senate, the upper house.

Many members of cabinet of the existing government lost their own seats. Luigi Di Maio, Italy's foreign minister for example, lost his place in the legislature.

Another notable takeaway from the election was the fact that the left-leaning Five Star movement performed better than the polls predicted. They won more than 15 per cent of the votes.

The new government will take office at the end of next month. The cost of living crisis will be Meloni's primary challenge.

"Italians have decided to take their destiny into their own hands by electing a patriotic, sovereignist government," remarked France's Marine Le Pen.

Expect Brussels to face significant resistance and witness an Italian pushback against the Franco-German domination in the EU.

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