London: It is the fate of all right-wing Italian politicians to be compared to Benito Mussolini. His Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Fratelli d’Italia (Italian Brothers), is no exception.
Her rapid rise as leader of the right-wing coalition won the election this weekend, took the European political system by surprise. But the blatant accusations of fascism directed at her could not dissuade more than one-quarter of her voters from voting for a rookie single mother with a Roman accent.
Meloni is hated by Eurocrats like Ursula von der Leyen. The reason is that despite her political party’s somewhat dubious past, many Italians see her as an acceptable face of the right. It sums up everything you deem reactionary, backward, or commoner.
It is no surprise that people like Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz like to make deals with fellow elitists like outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. For the first time since 2016, voters actually chose who will lead their government. His six recent prime ministers of Italy have all appeared through backroom deals.
And many Italians clearly think Meloni has something that technocrats like Draghi lack. “The biggest ambition we have in life is to make Italians proud to be Italian again,” she told her supporters on Sunday night.
The Brussels bureaucracy can’t wrap its head around the scale of such patriotic appeal, or disgust at attempts to manipulate desired political outcomes in Italy.
The new coalition is likely to include Silvio Berlusconi, a former Prime Minister in his 80s who was once Meloni’s patron. Despite winning the election, Berlusconi was ousted in 2011 due to his confrontation with a leading EU broker and was replaced by former EU Commissioner Mario Monti. Now, perhaps to their bitter irritation, the old rogues are back again.
Of course, it doesn’t covet an Italian dictatorship – as some of Meloni’s more historical critics might suggest. Italians don’t need Mussolini to keep their trains running on time. I know that But like Brexit supporters in the UK, they want control back.
https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/what-giorgia-meloni-wants-for-italy-and-why-she-infuriates-the-eu-20220927-p5bl8x.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world What Giorgia Meloni Wants from Italy and Why She’s Enraging the EU