Fascist Giorgia Meloni—set to be Italy’s first female prime minister after an election on 25 September—shared on social media a video of a migrant raping a woman.
When criticised by other political parties Meloni said, “The security of our cities is out of control in part because of the surreal migration policies you have carried out in recent years.” Her Brothers of Italy party is standing on a platform of virulent anti-immigration, opposing cash handouts to the jobless and urging arms supplies to Ukraine.
It 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”.
Brothers of Italy has reaped the benefit of remaining in opposition after a series of recent governments collapsed after overseeing austerity. It will likely lead a hard right coalition grouping with Matteo Salvini’s League party and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.
The right coalition is on track to win 46 percent of the vote. Meloni and her allies have agreed that the party that wins the most votes will choose the next prime minister. The party is campaigning on the slogan, “God, Fatherland, Family.”
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.
Meloni praises Mussolini. “Everything he did, he did for Italy—and there have been no politicians like him for 50 years,” she said. Party officials have an apparent fondness for fascism.
Francesco Acquaroli, the governor of the Marche region, attended a dinner in 2019 with party mayors honouring Mussolini’s seizure of power. When Meloni issued a video last month insisting that her party had renounced fascism she spoke in English, French and Spanish, but not Italian.
Berlusconi is running for election in the Senate for the first time since he was barred in 2013 for tax fraud. Forza Italia is the weakest of the three parties and recently split.
Matteo Salvini’s League is a natural partner for Meloni. As interior minister, he closed down migrant camps and blocked boats carrying migrants from entering ports. His party too is campaigning on a racist platform.
The 5 Star party won the 2018 election with almost a third of the vote, and is still polling at 11 percent. It is not currently part of any alliance.
5 Star began by sharing power with the far right League, and then switched to the Democratic Party before ending up as part of the national government. It also split as the government fell.
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 indeed the rest of the right have muted their criticism of the EU.
It is also partially why the Brothers are backing arms to Ukraine even though the hard right in Italy is usually pro-Putin. Salvini, for instance, still is.
The biggest threat from the new government will be to migrants. It will take action, not these elections, to stop them.
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