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Opinion: The political seducer who repackaged Italy’s Far Right | CNN

Editor’s Note: Francesco Galietti is the founder of policy sonar, a political risk consultancy based in Rome. He has held senior positions in Italian public institutions, including the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Galietti is a columnist for the Italian current affairs magazine Panorama. His views expressed in this commentary are his more opinions on CNN.


Giorgia Meloni – I’m often asked what Italy’s Conservative Party leader and likely next prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, is actually up to.

Which comparisons should we consider? Hungary, Poland, Brazil, and even the UK (not to mention the US under Donald Trump) have seen the “destras” or “right wing” rise against the backdrop of nationalist sentiments. A country that has at least partially seized power.

But Meloni, 45, who could become Italy’s youngest and first female prime minister in Sunday’s election, doesn’t quite fit the neat definition. explained.

On the one hand, Meloni set out to wipe out the post-fascist aura of her party. Politicians who identified themselves as fascists or were nostalgic for Benito Mussolini. Meanwhile, she has been kissing the capital markets, pledging to uphold the fiscal discipline of outgoing Prime Minister and staunch Euro-Atlanticist Mario Draghi and the European Union’s budgetary rules.

Despite her young age, Meloni has been in politics for quite some time.In 2008, she received her baptism of fire and served as youth minister under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Although the cabinet position she held at the time was a relatively minor one, her consensus was that Meloni was groomed for power.

At the time, I was a young consigliere in the Italian Ministry of Finance, and I sensed that Meloni had something more to offer. It seemed as if she had literally devoted her life to politics.she seemed Rather than calling it a profession, it is her calling. Because of this, she never thought she was another protégé of a party leader trying to reach out to the government.

A few years later, in 2021, Meloni’s autobiography was published. I panicked and bought the book. The book describes in vivid detail how painful Meloni’s youth was and how important it was for her to become a radical of the party. Meloni’s father had abandoned both her and her sister Arianna, and a right-wing Italian social movement has bridged the gap. (She later helped find the Brothers of Italy, an independent political movement).

Learning about Meloni’s upbringing seemed to confirm some of my previous impressions. The trauma of her late father left Meloni on a mission to seek her sense of purpose. Suddenly Meloni looked like Bruce Wayne on a journey to become Batman after the assassination of his parents. He flirted several times with the idea of ​​becoming mayor of Rome, the city of Rome, but never actually carried it out.

In 2016, Meloni first threw his hat in the ring, but eventually pulled out of the mayoral race.In 2021, Meloni did not step up again, instead losing to center-left Democrat Roberto Gualtieri. He backed right-wing contender Enrico Michetti. So why didn’t she ask for it? After all, Rome, unlike other Italian municipalities, like few other cities in the world, enjoys worldwide recognition. Did you deliberately decide to

There is little doubt that Meloni’s rise in the polls reflects the widespread dissatisfaction and protest votes seen in Italy since at least 2013. Or in recent years. Like them, Meloni’s Italian Brotherhood party has risen very quickly from single-digit levels in the polls. about 25%.

Meloni’s timing appears to be better than previous startups.In fact, considering the overall situation of Italian rights these days, 86-year-old Berlusconi Next week we won’t be playing long in the sandbox. Moreover, Salvini’s limitations are clear, and his “Russia-leaning” stance has made him politically radioactive after taking office. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This means Meloni not only dreams of becoming Italy’s first female prime minister, but she also does not dream of strengthening Italy’s conservative bloc.

Both tasks probably require maintaining moderates and introducing new moderates. How serious is Meloni about all of this?Meloni is still actively her chauvinist and anti-wake her storytelling. repertoire. She also rallied on the side of populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban when the European Parliament voted earlier this month to condemn the “clear risk of serious violations” of the EU’s core values ​​by Hungary.

But Meloni is also unafraid to normalize her party and is able to follow the example of her former boss and mentor, Gianfranco Fini. chose to normalize and made a very symbolic visit. Perhaps the move was not well received by some of Fini’s supporters at the time. Yet it changed the perception of the party forever.

Today, Meloni routinely I will explain Moscow’s invasion was “an unacceptable and large-scale act of war against Ukraine by Putin’s Russia”, advocating sending arms to the government in Kyiv. We are messaging more people to bring in and calm down the final detractors. In fact, she knows it would be impossible for her party to run the country these days without a strong Atlanticist stance. He seems to be facilitating a dialogue with the former president of the European Central Bank, who is currently in the United States, and has already seen hints that Draghi is now Meloni’s. “Leadership coach” and guarantor.

Of course, as is often the case with Italian politicians touted for their best work, Meloni is very attractive. and this has been true for some time.

Still, global alt-right guru Steve Bannon also regularly chats with Meloni. To help Meloni tell her story, Bannon rolled out an unprecedented Italian franchise of his “Warroom” shows. Who? Is she the responsible party leader who has followed the evolutionary path of transforming the Italian brothers into a post-populist party, or a friend of Rome’s Victor Orban? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, the biggest test for Meloni to understand if she really wants to protect Draghi’s legacy will be the appointment of Italy’s next Minister of Finance. Would you suggest someone from? All eyes are on melon.

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