By Simon Basketter
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A warning from Italy—fascist Giorgia Meloni on course for victory

This article is over 1 years, 8 months old
Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party is proud of its fascist roots
Issue 2824
Georgia Meloni stands at a podium

Fascist Giorgia Meloni

Giorgia Meloni, a fascist, is set to become Italy’s prime minister.

Exit polls after Sunday’s election showed Meloni’s far-right coalition in the lead with between 41 and 45 percent of the vote, enough to give it control of both houses of parliament.

Meloni allied for the election with Matteo Salvini the anti-migrant League party leader, and Silvio Berlusconi the utterly corrupt former prime minister. She is on course to land the prime minister’s job as exit polls suggested her Brothers of Italy party received 22-26 percent of votes cast—more than her allies combined. The party campaigned on the slogan, “God, Fatherland, Family.”

The polls suggest the far right alliance would take between 227 and 257 of 400 seats in the lower house of parliament, and 111 to 131 of the 200 senate seats.

She claims migration is being driven by big business to drive down wages. Meloni said that Italy is letting in “hundreds of thousands of people to deal drugs, controlled by organised crime, or to prostitute themselves”.

Meloni’s autobiography, published last year, reveals that she is a believer in the “great replacement” conspiracy theory which claims that global financiers such as George Soros are funnelling migrants into Europe to destroy the continent’s Christian identity and make it easier to control society.

Meloni has stood devoutly by Viktor Orban, the Hungarian leader, on his anti-migrant policies and talk of defending Europe from Muslim invaders.

In Spain this summer she shouted “no” to the “the LGBT lobby” and “no” to “big international finance” at a rally held by the far right Vox party.

It routinely insists that one of the main focuses of government should be to drive up birth rates in order to avoid the “extinction of Italians”.

Meloni is proud of the flame in her party logo. It evokes the Brothers of Italy’s roots in the MSI party, founded after the war by devotees of the dictator Benito Mussolini, which used the same image.

She praises Mussolini. “Everything he did, he did for Italy—and there have been no politicians like him for 50 years,” she said.

The Brothers of Italy has reaped the benefit of remaining in opposition after a series of recent governments collapsed after overseeing austerity.

All the major parties, with the exception of the Brothers of Italy, were part of the last government led by banker Mario Draghi. This has discredited them all on the left and right.

The parliamentary left is frantically bemoaning that, after it couldn’t make workers pay more during the last decade, an imposed banker leading a government also failed. They opened a door to the far right to fill a vacuum.

Italy is the intended beneficiary of €200 billion (£174 billion) in European Union (EU) coronavirus recovery funds. Previous EU bailout cash is dependent on cuts. Noticeably Meloni and the rest of the right have muted their criticism of the EU.

She has dropped her opposition to the euro but accused the EU of spending its time persuading people to eat insects and announced that for the EU, “The fun is over.”

There are tension in the potential coalition. Meloni has backed arms deliveries to Ukraine and Russian sanctions, Salvini has opposed sanctions and Berlusconi last week claimed that his old ally President Putin merely wanted to install a new government of “decent people” in Kiev.

Salvini and Berlusconi were both backers of banker Draghi’s outgoing national unity government before pulling their support and helping to prompt its collapse in July. 

Salvini, whose League party has dropped from 34 percent of votes in European elections in 2019 to less than 10 percent on Sunday, wants to be interior minister.  Salvini successfully used the job in a previous government to increase his profile. He was then put on trial for stranding migrants at sea.

Meloni may use the trial as a reason to keep Salvini from retaking the interior ministry.

But the glue that holds them together is anti-immigration. Meloni has championed crackdowns on illegal migration, calling for a new naval blockade on sailings from north Africa,

Salvini campaigned last month from the deck of the Gamar, a ship that had rescued refugees of the coast of Lampedusa. He posed in striped swimming trunks and demanded that Italy should not become the “refugee camp of Europe”.

This could keep the right’s supporters on board. It would also be cheaper than other pledges.

Nor does it risk rattling the bosses— a key concern for Meloni and Salvini, who fear driving up the premium Italy must pay to borrow to finance its national debt, which has surged in recent years.

After Salvini’s visit, Angelo Farina, a doctor at the refugee centre, said 2,100 inmates had been forced to share 310 beds this July, leading to “unspeakable sanitary conditions”.

A late surge by the populist Five Star fell short with the drop-off in voting more accentuated in the party’s heartlands in the south of the country. Turnout was lower partially due to ongoing floods. That climate crisis combined with the economic one is the real problem Italians face. Restaurant owners are taping their fuel bills in their windows to explain why the prices have spiralled.

Immigrants and the Roma face a daunting time with the new government. But the opposition to it can’t be based on the centrists and the banker technocrats that have opened the door to the fascists.

A new government is unlikely to be in place before the end of next month. The resistance has to start now, and it has to be a complete break from the failed policies that have opened the door to a fascist as prime minister.

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