Elections in Italy: the candidates, the polls and how the far right could return to government for the first time since Mussolini

With about a month to go before the legislative elections in Italy, scheduled for next Sunday, September 25, the center-right coalition collected 47% of the voting intentions, with the far-right party of Giorgia Meloni in the lead.

The most recent polls do not tell very different stories: according to the Ipsos Institute, which released figures on September 9, published by Corriere della Sera and other Italian media about 15 days before the elections, the far-right Brothers of Italy (Fratelli di Italia or FdI in the original acronym) by Giorgia Melioni consolidated first place with 25.1% of voter preferences, with a growth of 1.1% compared to the end of August. Enrico Letta’s Democratic Party (PD) got 20.5% of the vote, losing 2.5% compared to the end of the previous month. Thirdly, the 5 Star Movement (M5S) which recently split from an alliance with the PD, garnered 14.5% of voting intentions, with Salvini’s League in fourth place, garnering 12.5%. Forza Italia, a party founded by Berlusconi, reached 8%.

According to polls, Giorgia Meloni, in coalition with Matteo Salvini’s Liga and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, could achieve an unprecedented victory for the right in the legislative next September 25, reaching around 45 % of votes. The centre-left alliance, which now only includes the PD and small left-wing parties, namely ecologists and pro-Europeans, is preparing to face a landslide victory for the right, judging by the numbers – Carlo Calenda, leader of the centrist force Azione, decided to withdraw from the centre-left coalition a week after its formation in August, now racing as Terzo Polo – alongside Matteo Renzi’s Italia Viva. And this bloc has only 6.7% of voting intentions.

A possible alliance between the PD and the 5 Star Movement was ruled out when the party, together with Salvini’s League and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, which were part of the ruling coalition led by Mario Draghi, withdrew support for the prime minister, precipitating his resignation. of Draghi and the appointment of early elections on Sunday.

If this vote is confirmed, the alliance of conservative parties could even manage to change the Italian Constitution without holding a referendum. And this is precisely one of the goals of Meloni, who has already said that he wants to change the current Italian parliamentary system to a presidential system, something that the Italian center-left is opposed to.

Last July, Meloni signed an agreement with Salvini and Berlusconi that provides for her to take over as prime minister if the right wins the election. The coalition also reached an agreement to run together in the 221 constituencies with a common candidate, selected from among the most competitive of each political force.

Meloni’s program, “Woman, Mother, Italian and Christian”

The latest barometers, however, leave a warning: voting intentions could change a lot in the coming days, as there are many undecided and 65% of Italian voters are expected to participate in the election, which would mean a historic low. in Italy. The reasons for the abstention will be related to the fall of the technocratic government of Mario Draghi and the tiredness of the partisan upheavals.

The great protagonist thus becomes Giorgia Meloni, who in 2019 defined herself as “woman, mother, Italian and Christian” and has been the real phenomenon of popularity of these legislatives – in the 2013 legislatives, for example, the FdI, which she founded in 2012, she did not get even 2% of the votes. Born in Rome in 1977, she has been active since the age of 15 in associations associated with the extreme right and has as its motto “God, Fatherland and Family” – she was once Minister of Youth in a government of Silvio Berlusconi.

Meloni leads a party that is heir to the Italian Social Movement, a neo-fascist formation founded after World War II, but guarantees that the Italian right has long left fascism behind, defining itself as “post-fascist”. She has already praised Benito Mussolini and may even be the first woman to take over as prime minister in Italy, the first far-right leader since Mussolini himself, who Meloni admitted to having made some mistakes – notably entering the Second World War. World Cup alongside Germany.

“There is no place for those nostalgic for fascism, racism and anti-Semitism”, assured Meloni at a rally. But even the flame, which is a symbol of the FdI he leads, reminds some of the flame that was never supposed to go out over Mussolini’s tomb and that was in the Italian Social Movement’s logo – and some party members were filmed, last year. , giving Nazi salutes.

As for the political program, the far-right leader is clear: conservatism and fierce opposition to the arrival of migrants, as well as to same-sex families. Meloni also defends “flat taxes”, that is, equal taxes for all citizens, regardless of their income, the closing of borders to protect Italy from “Islamization” and even the renegotiation of European treaties to achieve greater decision-making power – either “less Europe, but better Europe”.

Democrats want “equality” and open doors to Europe

To Meloni’s slogan “God, Family and Fatherland”, Enrico Letta, from the Democratic Party – the second in voting intentions – opposes with “work, work, work and, above all, equality”. On a visit to archaeological excavations in Pompeii, this Tuesday, Letta insisted on drawing attention to the need for equal opportunities for every Italian citizen, sending a message to the right: “Equality is a universal value that, unfortunately, , does not exist and the right continues not to want it, as their proposal for fiscal reform demonstrates. The ‘flat tax’ for all is the exact opposite of the principle of equality”, defended Letta.

The PD leader has already refused to govern with the right, but this time he has not managed to get along with all the parties on the left. At 54, married and father of three, Letta has been the secretary general of the Democratic Party since March 2021. Previously, he was president of the think tank “Jacques Delors Institut-Notre Europe”, founded by former President of the European Commission Jacques Delors, and had taught at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (known as Sciences Po).

In 2013 and 2014, he led a coalition government that brought together center-left and center-right parties, but he was removed from office by his opponent within the PD itself, Matteo Renzi. Moderate and pro-European, Enrico Letta assured, when he arrived at the leadership of the party, that his political agenda would focus on unemployment, women and young people. And he even proposed granting nationality to the children of foreign immigrants born in Italy.

Recently, Corriere della Sera brought together the two main rivals in the legislative elections in the only face-to-face of the election campaign: Letta and Meloni talked about relations with Europe and energy prices. And if Letta criticized Meloni for his admiration for the governments of Hungary and Poland, and defended a solidary Europe, the far-right leader said: “There is a Germany that does not agree with the price of gas because it has contracts with Russia under the which German companies pay a third of what Italian companies pay for gas, which also creates a problem of competitiveness. We want a Europe where Italy can also defend its interests and seek solutions together with others”, said Meloni.

Earlier in the week, Letta went to Berlin to gather support from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. On Twitter, she wrote that the two talked about the energy crisis.

The meeting, more than highlighting Letta’s political program, showed German concern about the possibility of a victory for the far right on Sunday. “Resist”, said Scholz to the Italian, revealed the Italian daily La Reppublica. “I wish Letta every success. Together we will continue to work for European solutions, to help people in these difficult times”, wrote only Scholz on Twitter, regarding the meeting.

Barbara Cruz

Source: Tvi24

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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