On July 19, 1992, the explosion of a car bomb loaded with 100 kilos of dynamite ended the life of the popular anti-mafia judge Paolo Borsellino and his five bodyguards in the central street of Via Mariano D’Amelio in palermo. The next day, almost 1,000 kilometers away, in the popular Roman neighborhood of Garbatella, a 15 year old knocking energetically on the door of the Youth Front, the youth organization of the neo-fascist party Italian Social Movement (M: YES).
It was Giorgia Melonithe woman who could now become Italy’s future prime minister if her far-right party, Brothers from Italy (Fratelli d’Italia), wins the elections this Sunday, as predicted by all the polls.
“I was horrified by what had happened to Borsellino, I needed to share my anger and find comfort between those who thought like me. He needed clean people, outside the arrangements of low politics “. These are the words with which Meloni explains in his book Noi Credit (2011) the origin of a political vocation that led her to join the MSI, founded in 1946 by followers of the dictator Benito Mussolini.
[“¿A quién damos miedo?”: Meloni exhibe su dominio total de la derecha italiana]
For years, Meloni combined militancy with studies and part-time jobs that allowed him to bring money home. She was a waitress, babysitter and record seller. He suffered bullying in college and studied journalism at university. Today He’s 45a harsh tone of voice and the more immediate goal of becoming the first woman to lead a right-wing coalition to govern Italy.
In that sense, all national polls predict success. Although in the general elections four years ago his formation barely managed to get 4.35% of the votes, now exceeds 25% in voting intention. Some results that give him an advantage over his main adversary, the center-left Democratic Party formation that he leads Enrico Lettaat the head of a progressive alliance.
They also allow you to overtake your partners: The leagueof the Vice President of the Council of Ministers and former Minister of the Interior, Matteo SalviniY Strength Italyof the former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Woman, mother and Christian
The figures are an example of a meteoric political rise, the result of many factors, but above all, of the energetic and overwhelming personality of a woman who has managed to revive the most traditional Italian right.
“I am Giorgia. I am a woman, mother, Italian and Christian. They won’t take it from me“, Meloni shouted at the top of his lungs in 2019 against homosexual legislation. A phrase that would later become a theme of electronic music that triumphed for months in the main Italian nightclubs.
Those same ideas are now defended by the Brothers of Italy, a party that he founded and directs since 2012, under the motto “God, country and family.” The same emblem that appealed to the fascism of the 1930s.
Precisely, part of Meloni’s popularity is due to the fact that she uses “a direct style when speaking, she is clear and does not beat around the bush”, she explains. matthew reprofessor of Contemporary History at the Rey Juan Carlos University, to THE SPANISH.
“I am Giorgia. I am a woman, a mother, an Italian and a Christian. They will not take it away from me”
Beyond the slogans, Roman politics has also known how to exploit its vital history. Specifically, Re points out, “his life of him as daughter abandoned by her father who has had to leave a good neighborhood in Rome to move to the outskirts together with her mother (Anna) and her sister (Arianna).” An experience that she herself recounts in I am Giorgiaan autobiography strategically published in 2021, in full formation of the technocratic government of mario draghi.
She introduces herself as a self made womanwho came from nowhere to succeed”, adds Re. And the truth is that the story of Giorgia Meloni is, at least, a story of perseverance and opportunism.
opportunist or anti-establishment?
At the age of 19, Meloni, known for her dialectical toughness, rose as the national leader of Azione Studentesca, the youth movement of Alianza Nacional, heir to the MSI. a decade later she reached the Chamber of Deputies, of which she was vice-president until 2008.
This year, Berlusconi, then leader of the government and of the Popolo della Libertà party, put Meloni in charge of the Youth and Sports portfolio. In 2012 he distanced himself from Cavaliere —which formed Forza Italia— to found the Brothers of Italy. Or, in his words, “the party of patriots.”
“has been able to wait and seize the right moment,” says political scientist Daniel V. Guisado, co-author of the book Salvini and Meloni. Children of the same rage (2021). It refers to the decline of the traditional forces of the Italian right embodied in Berlusconi and Salvini.
“The first, 85 years old, is too old and too well known, and the second, drunk with power, brought down his own government, led by Draghi, and proved incapable of being a serious leader in the worst of the pandemic,” he explains. Stew.
Meloni’s party has been outlined as a novelty within the known of the right. “He has built a biography far from great cradles of gold and has become the opposition to all the governments of this legislature,” adds the political scientist.
“Meloni has built a biography far from great cradles of gold and has become the real opposition”
The truth is that Brothers of Italy was the only party that did not join Draghi’s cabinet, made up of the anti-system 5-Star Movement (M5E), La Liga and Forza Italia. A government that ended up imploding this July, barely a year and a half after it was formed, and that has led the country to early elections of this September 25.
The tiredness of the Italians before the constant political changes It has also had to do with the rapid takeoff of Hermanos de Italia. “That the polls predict 25% of the votes is an (almost desperate) way of saying: ‘We have tried all the others, we are going to try these and see what happens,'” suggests Re.
A crisis of credibility that Meloni has used to build his success. She has set herself up as a rebel anti-establishment. Like a warrior against “the lies of the left“, but also against a right that has not been able to rise to the occasion.
“She has also profited from a bad electoral campaign of the progressive Democratic Party of Enrico Letta, focused on disqualifying her and constantly describing her as nostalgic for fascism,” adds Re.
A fascism in disguise
She defines herself as “conservative“, but its connection with fascism is evident. Not only because Brothers of Italy was born from the ashes of the MSI, but because the one who was the founder of the extinct party, George Admiral, is one of the greatest referents of Meloni. “Honesty, coherence and courage. These are the values that Admiral has transmitted to the Italian right”, he pointed out about the fascist leader who died 34 years ago.
Between his teachers there is also the former dictator Benito Mussolini, whom he considers “a complex character who must be contextualized.” In the past, he has not only declared that he has a “fair relationship with fascism“, but came to defend that “Mussolini made some mistakes, such as racial laws or support for war and his system was authoritarian… but historically he also produced a lot.”
[La UE se prepara resignada para relaciones turbulentas con la Italia de la ultra Giorgia Meloni]
His fiery speeches, based on the defense of the “traditional family” and the denunciation of “gender ideology” and the “Islamization” and “illegal immigration” that Europe suffers follow the line of ultra-conservative parties such as the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, of whom she has declared herself a great admirer. Likewise, the former president of the United States Donald Trump is for the Italian “a role model” for his beliefs in “God, country and family.”
🇮🇹 @GiorgiaMeloni it is clear:
✅ Yes to family ❌ No to LGBT lobbies
✅ Yes to equality ❌ No to gender ideology
✅ Yes to life ❌ No to the culture of death
✅ Yes to secure borders ❌ No to mass immigration
✅ Yes to sovereignty ❌ No to those who destroy it pic.twitter.com/xQ6lkoZvhO
— VOX 🇪🇸 (@vox_es) June 12, 2022
However, Meloni’s strategy during this electoral campaign has been based on softening his radical rhetoric. In August, for example, he published a video – in Italian, English and French – in which he condemned fascism and denied an anti-democratic trend in Italy. “Fascism is history decades ago“he clarified.
However, the sharpest turn has been on its relationship with Europe. Since 2020, she chairs the Party of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR, with its acronym in English). The group that brings together the eurosceptic right in the European Parliament, such as the Spanish Vox, led by Santiago Abascal, or the French National Association of Marine LePen.
From Eurosceptic to Europeanist
These months, on the other hand, the ultra leader has lowered her anti-European discourse and has reiterated that “is not against Europe“, but advocates a “more efficient Europe”. In addition, He has been in favor of European unity, very firm in his Atlanticist position and has harshly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Meloni wants to make his government a credible partner. The reason? “The money from the recovery funds Next Generation EUaid of which Italy is the main beneficiary, with €191.5 billion.
“You can’t afford to give up the €191.5 billion of Next Generation EU funds”
“Meloni knows that if she becomes prime minister she cannot afford not to have that money. ideologized that your government isif it is not capable of protecting citizens from economic storms in a country with as much political instability as Italy, its days may be numbered”, explains Héctor Sánchez, researcher at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs (CIDOB), to this newspaper.
[Las dos caras de Meloni: condena ahora el fascismo tras exponer su ideario de ultraderecha junto a Vox]
However, putting a brave face on Europe does not have to be enough. “With the Government of Meloni social rights could be threatened and the European Union has tools, such as conditionality mechanisms, such as those used in Hungary, that allow the tap to be turned off if there are threats against the rule of law”, Sánchez details.
First, remember the expert, we will have to wait to know the results of this Sunday. And not only that: ehe Republic President, Sergio Mattarellais the one who has the last word on the new cabinet.
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