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Pro-Russian parties underperformed in Italian elections. What it means for Meloni

Salvini Putin Conte Di Maio
The combined votes of the Five Star Movement, the League and Forza Italia only amount to a third of total votes. Their poor show should help strengthen the pro-Ukraine and pro-NATO position of Brothers of Italy

Going Russian doesn’t pay. The Five Star Movement, the League and Forza Italia, i.e. the parties accused of being too soft on Russia and Vladimir Putin, garnered 35% of the total votes in Sunday’s general elections.

  • All three have sharply declined from the last round of elections in 2018.
    • Giuseppe Conte’s 5SM fell from 32% to 15.5%;
    • Matteo Salvini’s League, 17% to 9%;
    • Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia from 14% to 8.3%.
  • Considering the 9% drop in turnout compared to 2018, the collapse in support takes on even greater dimensions.

Messaging mistake? The Russian and pro-Russian campaign focused on the nuclear threat to scare “pacifists” and on high utility bills to alarm entrepreneurs, especially SMEs, which are generally closer to the centre-right. That didn’t work.

  • Probably, as Bloomberg’s Alessandro Speciale explained, “this should go at least some way toward strengthening [Giorgia] Meloni’s pro-Ukraine and pro-NATO stance.”

Heading onwards. “Energy, in fact, is a weapon, and it is currently being used against the European Union. Our effort, as Italians and Europeans, must be to work so that the cohesion and the deep and determined political vision of the whole Euro-Western world is consolidated.” Thus spoke Giulio Terzi, who oversees foreign relations in Ms Meloni’s party.

  • He believes Italian diplomacy must “act with the European and Atlantic partners so that they stay on the right side of history. Faced with an aggressor who does not want to negotiate until it has achieved all its neo-imperialist goals, the only way to sit down and negotiate is to stand in the way of achieving those goals.”

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