The recent electoral victory of Giorgia Meloni’s Brotherhood of Italy party has caused quite a stir this week by obtaining a 26% plurality in a broader coalition with other right-wing Italian parties. Much of the commotion has been due to her apparently fascist political background. This raises numerous questions, such as whether this claim is even valid, is her party going to harm the Italian democratic process, and what does this victory mean in the broader context of European politics?
To begin with, it is quite accurate to characterize Meloni, and more broadly the Brotherhood of Italy, as a fascist organization, and even a passing glance at the history of the party reveals obvious concerns. The Brotherhood of Italy inherits members (including its leaders) and its logo from the Italian Social Movement, a political party founded in 1948 by members of Benito Mussolini’s Sálo government after the National Fascist party was banned. They do not attempt to disguise their inclinations either, as the party has entered a coalition with Mussolini’s grand-daughter, with the senate’s vice-president referring to the government as “inheritors of Mussolini.”
This raises the greater question of whether this new government will do harm in Italy? It’s entirely possible, particularly in the realm of migrants’ rights, where guarantees that were obtained over the past decade could easily be swept away by this new xenophobic government. Reproductive and gender identity-based rights are also prime targets for regulation. Beyond that, however, it is unlikely that Meloni will have the political power to create a stable government that can rule for multiple terms, as Italian politics are as much defined by its parties as its tendencies to swing hard in favour of the opposition. Meloni now rides the same political high that, in previous years, put Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi in power, but it is worth noting that their stays were short-lived, as they only gained power due to their opposition to all other groups. It is this writer’s opinion that Italy will not be given a reason to vote for Meloni’s government again in the future. My analysis stems from her economic policies, which unlike other far-right parties in Europe, do not cozy up to Putin and instead pursue an unflinching pro-Ukraine stance. By opposing Putin, Italy could experience an energy crisis Italy that will ruin her popularity and swing another opposition party into office.
The most fascinating element of Meloni’s politics is its significance on the stage of the European Union. As previously mentioned, other far-right governments, for example that of Hungary, have opposed the anti-Russia stance adopted by the western bloc. But Meloni unreservedly embraces it, which creates an unfilled political niche of right-wing extremists who are not Euroskeptics or NATO opposers. This may be the lasting impression of the Brotherhood of Italy’s government, and such a stance would reflect that of extremist Ukrainian movements, like the former Azov Regiment, a group whose members typically believed in joining the EU and respected western political integrity. Greatest of all concerns is that the rehabilitation of a pro-Europe fascist on the political stage should be unacceptable – especially as it could lead to increasingly powerful and interconnected extremists operating directly in the EU.
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