Ready to govern. The collapse of Mario Draghi’s “national unity” government gave way to the electoral campaign, now in full swing until September 25. In two months, the landscape of Italian politics could change dramatically – and most expect the centre-right coalition, which comprises Brothers of Italy, the League and Forza Italia, to end up governing.
- Here’s a breakdown of all major parties, their defining traits and foreign policy positions.
A right-wing landslide? Brothers of Italy, a conservative right-wing party, has overtaken the Democratic Party and is leading the polls with over 20% of prospective voters. Barring unforeseen events, its leader and founder Giorgia Meloni could aspire to become Italy’s next prime minister.
- The foreign press (including the New York Times and Foreign Policy) has been weighing Brothers of Italy’s post-fascist, Eurosceptic heritage and pondering the consequences of the party’s rise to power. But Ms Meloni has been moving onwards.
Meet the real Giorgia. In an interview with La Stampa’s Saturday issue, Ms Meloni sought to clarify her programme and her positioning, touching upon fascism and her true international positioning.
On fascism. “I am a person who says what I think. In life, I have always said what I thought, and I have often paid for it. If I happened to think that a regime should return to Italy, I would have said so. Instead, I have only fought for democracy and freedom.”
On Ukraine. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Ms Meloni has adopted an uncompromising line: unconditional support for Kyiv and condemnation for Moscow. This position often brought her closer to outgoing PM Draghi than other parties in her own coalition, such as the League and Forza Italia, which maintain ambivalent political relations with Russia.
– Choosing to side with the Ukrainian resistance, she told La Stampa, “was one of the easiest decisions of my life.”
– As for the electors’ support on this issue, she noted that “people may see Ukraine as distant and say ‘why do we have to burden ourselves with more problems?’ But politics must be serious. What you seem to be able to use as an election fund today, you pay ten times over tomorrow. This much should be explained to the voters.”
On Italy’s positioning and arms. “The foreign policy of a government led by Brothers of Italy will remain as it is today. That’s a [necessary] condition for me. And I don’t think [my coalition allies] want to question it.”
- She added that a government led by her would continue to send arms to Ukraine. “If we don’t send arms, the West will continue to send them, and they will consider us an unserious country. The problem will be ours. We must be lucid: we cannot think of being neutral without consequences.”
- This was reiterated by Adolfo Urso, Brothers of Italy senator, chairman of the Intelligence Committee and among the party leaders.
- “From the opposition, we have been clear and consistent in asking the government and Parliament for full support for the people and government of Ukraine in protecting their independence, integrity and freedom, together with the allied countries, the EU, the Atlantic Alliance and Western democracies,” he wrote on social media.
The US connection. The contents of La Stampa’s interview should come as no surprise to less casual onlookers, as Ms Meloni’s once-fringe hard-right party has been morphing into something more akin to a mainstream European conservative force steeped in Atlanticism.
- Over the past years, Ms Meloni forged a strong alliance with the US Republican Party. She was a speaker at three of the party’s CPAC conventions. Also, she’s a member of the International Republican Institute and the Aspen Institute.