Europe holds its breath as Italy prepares to vote for far-right leader | Georgia Meloney

Italians are voting in an election predicted to deliver the country’s most far-right government since World War II, and a prime minister poised to become a role model for nationalist parties. Europe.

Alliance led by Georgia Maloney Brothers of ItalyThe neofascist-looking party is expected by polls ahead of the vote to secure a comfortable victory, with 44 to 47% of the vote in both houses of parliament.

Meloni’s party is also set to win the majority of votes within the coalition, which includes Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Forza Italia. Silvio BerlusconiThat means she could become Italy’s first female prime minister.

However, the coalition’s victory raises questions about the country’s alliances in Europe, and while Meloni may try to send reassuring messages, his power grab is unlikely to be welcomed in Paris or Berlin.

Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party warned last week that his victory would be bad for European cooperation. Lars Klingbeil, head of President Olaf Schaals’ SPD, said Meloni had aligned himself with “anti-democratic” figures such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Earlier this month, Maloney’s MEPs voted against a resolution It condemned Hungary as a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy”.. Meloni is allied with Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice party, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats and Spain’s far-right Vox party.

The 45-year-old firebrand politician from Rome received an endorsement from Vox at the end of his campaign, saying the two parties were linked by “mutual respect, friendship and loyalty” while expecting a victory for the Brotherhood of Brothers. Italy Vox will give some impetus in Spain.

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“Meloni has the ambition to represent a model not only for Italy but also for Europe – this is new [for the right in Italy] compared to the past,” said Nadia Urbinati, a political theorist at New York’s Columbia University and the University of Bologna. “He has connections with other conservative parties who want a Europe with less civil liberties … the model is there and the plan is there.”

Mattia Diletti, a professor of politics at Rome’s Sapienza University, said Meloni would win because of his ideological but also practical performance, which allowed him to elevate French far-right leader Marine Le Pen to the post of Western Europe. A model for nationalism.

However, he is unlikely to rock the boat, at least initially, as he looks to secure continued cash flows under Italy’s €191.5bn (£166bn) EU Covid rescue plan, the largest in the EU. The coalition has said it does not want to renegotiate the plan, but wants to make changes.

Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi, Giorgia Meloni and Maurizio Lupi attend a political meeting organized by the right-wing political alliance in Rome on Thursday. Photo: Riccardo Fabi/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

“Ambiguity is key to understanding Meloney,” Dilette said. “She is very keen to compromise with the EU on economic politics. But if the EU pushes her too hard on the Italian government, she can always return to her safe zone as a populist right-wing leader. She will do whatever it takes to stay in power.

Salvini’s possible return to the interior ministry would also dampen hopes of progress in the EU’s long-running effort to reform its migration system by sharing asylum seekers among member states. Salvini, who has close ties to Le Pen, said he “can’t wait” to resume his policy of barring migrant rescue ships from entering Italian ports.

In Ukraine, Meloni has condemned Russia’s invasion and supported sending arms to the war-torn country, but it is unclear whether his government will support the eighth round of EU sanctions being debated in Brussels. Salvini said the sanctions would bring Italy to its knees, although he never blocked EU action against Russia when Mario Draghi’s broad coalition government collapsed in July.

Polling started at 7 am on Sunday, with about 19% voter turnout till noon. The share of undecided voters before the polls began was 25%, meaning the right-wing coalition could win a slimmer majority than pollsters had initially suggested. A left-wing coalition led by the Democratic Party is projected to win 22-27% of the vote.

Many places in southern Italian regions, such as Puglia and Calabria, are also capable of playing after a mini-revival by populists. Five Star MovementThe party regained support after pledging to maintain its flagship policy of basic income if it returns to power.

A booth in Rome’s multicultural Esquilino district saw a steady stream of voters on Sunday morning, but the mood was one of despair.

“We feel like we’re on a boat without a rudder,” Carlo Russo said. “During the election campaign, all we heard were exchanges of insults between various parties rather than an exchange of ideas. In such chaotic moments, people tend to vote for the person who appears to be stronger.

Fausto Macari, who runs a newspaper stand, said he would not vote for the right, but was not sure who he would support. “The choices are bad,” added Makari, who is in his 60s. “For example, I look at Berlusconi and he reminds me of a comic character. He shouldn’t be doing politics at his age. At my age, I would be like Maradona trying to be a footballer.

Many Italians who support Meloni do so because he has yet to be tried and tested in government, and are impressed by his determination and loyalty to his principles.

“She presents herself as a capable woman, but not arrogant,” Urbinati said. “She does everything and is dedicated, but without this masculine adrenaline, wanting power at all costs.”

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