Italy | 09/17/2022

Italy 2022 September

Black Clouds on Italian Political Landscape

For the first time in the republican history of Italy, there have been general elections during the summer season, recording an increasing disaffection to the political situation, with only 64% of voters’ participation. As widely foreseen, the right-wing coalition of Giorgia Merloni’s Brothers of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, and Matteo Salvini’s League have gained the majority of seats in the Parliament with 44% of consensus, against the 26% of the liberal-democratic coalition and the 15% of Beppe Grillo’s M5S among others.

Though the well-known homophobic, xenophobic, and reactionary positions of the three main right-wing parties, the pivotal role of a moderate vote brought mostly Meloni to restrain extremist approaches in the electoral campaign. Only Salvini persisted with his racist mantra on anti-migrant statements that didn’t arouse much interest, looking at his tiny 8,4% electoral result. Indeed Italians’ concerns focused much more on energy inflation and higher cost of living due to financial market speculation and the war in Ukraine. From this point of view, Meloni’s FdI took advantage of its pretended opposition to Draghi’s government, slyly avoiding any eventual position that could have shown FdI connections with neofascist groups and such a political background.

The only reference to reactionary positions within the electoral campaign concerned anti-abortion declarations presented upside down as a “right to have children” in a country such as Italy, where the n.184 law on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy doesn’t seem to be respected at all, due to the lack of resources and the high percentage of objectors in gynecology departments.
Due to such a situation, even antifascist demonstrations didn’t take place but in some local episodes of protest during Meloni’s rallies, for example, in Cagliari, Trento singing ‘Bella Ciao,’ or then in Palermo, where the police brutally attacked the demonstrators.

What mostly advantaged Meloni’s rise to power was also the general approach of the Italian mainstream press, presenting her as the natural successor after the collapse of Draghi’s government, basically removing from the public debate all the scandals about corruption and arrests of local FdI politicians, as well as the investigation on the so-called ‘black lobby,’ also involving MEPs. The perception of the international press about a far-right threat in power in one of the core countries of the European Union wasn’t shared by the Italian press at all.

Sovereign Puzzle of the Europe of Nations

Among other controversial issues within the right-wing coalition, the European and international ones are for sure the most critical. Berlusconi’s party belongs to PPE group, while Salvini’s League belongs to Identity and Democracy (ID), and in conclusion, Meloni’s FdI belongs to European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). It’s not obviously only a matter of label, but indeed a political positioning with deep reflection on alliance and international relations. While PPE supports the European Commission, the other groups outline nationalist and sovereignist positions, thus distinguishing from each other, with the League boosted by the relationship with Marine Le Pen (RN) and Orban’s Fidesz also in a pro-Russian perspective, while Meloni’s party seems closer to pro-Atlantic and ultra-catholic parties, such as ‘Right and Order’ of the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, or even the far-right one ‘Vox’ in Spain. Shortly after the elections, Meloni’s first international date was not by chance the participation in the Spanish far-right party annual meeting. In her recorded video speech, she spoke about a ‘shared destiny among patriots’ parties’, wishing to relaunch a concept of Europe of nations without rejecting western and pro-NATO positions referring to the war in Ukraine.

Regarding this scenario, in September was acknowledged the second Italian foreign fighter was killed on the ground. His name was Benjamin Giorgio Galli, 27 years old, and he enrolled within the pro-Kyiv international brigades to fight the Russian troops in the southern part of Kharkiv, where he was killed during a bombing attack. He was grown up between Italy and the Netherlands, where his mother came from and decided to start fighting from the beginning of June, traveling through the polish border.