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How Giorgia Meloni and her far-right party became the driving force in Italian politics


Roman
CNN

When Giorgia Meloni first appearing on the political scene in 2006 as the youngest-ever vice-president of the National Coalition party, she has made her own destiny as a politician far-right.

The National Union, formerly the Italian Socialist Movement, is neo-fascist, founded by supporters of Benito Mussolini. Meloni herself had publicly admired the dictator in her youth, but has since moved away from his brand of fascism – though kept the tricolor flame symbolizing the eternal flame on his mausoleum. him in the logo of the Italian Brothers, the party she co-founded. in 2012.

Now, the ultra-conservative 45-year-old is likely to become Italy’s first female prime minister.

Her far-right Brotherhood of Italy party, which is voting ahead of the group leading up to the September 25 general election, won only 4.5% of the vote in the last election in 2018.

Her popularity has skyrocketed since then, in no small part because she has always kept herself in the limelight with her active social media presence and keeping her party on message, never wavered from a conservative agenda that raised questions about LGBT rights, abortion rights and immigration policies.

Hers is also the only mainstream party not to join the unity government formed by Mario Draghi after the fall of Giuseppe Conte’s government in 2021, instead demanding new elections rather than a thorough overhaul. other treatment. When it’s Draghi’s government’s turn fall in julyThe snap election on Sunday has been activated.

Former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon (left) arrives with Giorgia Meloni for the Italian Brotherhood party convention in Rome on September 22, 2018.

A darling of the global conservative movement, Meloni is a favorite defender of Republican strategist Steve Bannon, who chaired her party conferences in Italy before the Covid-19 pandemic and his own legal troubles. Bannon recently backed her again, saying in a statement to CNN: “Meloni, like Thatcher, she will fight and win.”

Meloni has spoken at several US C-Pac conferences, telling the group in 2022 that conservatives are under attack.

“We (conservatives) are proud of our identity, of what we stand for. We live in an age where everything it stands for is under attack: our individual freedoms are under attack, our rights are under attack, our nation’s sovereignty is under attack. Our family’s prosperity and happiness are under attack, children’s education is under attack. Faced with this, people understand that in this era, the only way to rebel is to preserve who you are, the only way to rebel is to be conservative,” she said.

She was raised by a single mother in Rome’s gritty left-wing Garbatella neighborhood, far from the tourist attractions of the capital’s center. A group of elderly men sitting on park benches in the central square of the district shook their heads at the mention of her name. “She doesn’t represent me,” cafe owner Marizio Tagliani told CNN. “She doesn’t represent this neighborhood.”

Silvio Berlusconi of Forza Italia and Brother Giorgia Meloni of Italy acknowledge supporters at the conclusion of a joint protest with Italy's far-right League party against the government on October 19, 2019 in Rome.

Meloni represents a growing number of conservative Italians who agree with her ideals of the traditional family in line with their powerful Catholic Church.

The unmarried mother is openly anti-LBGT, threatening that same-sex unions, which were legalized in Italy in 2016, may be under consideration.

She also called abortion a “tragedy” and that areas in Italy where her party is in power have seen restrictions on abortion and a lack of services, including non-compliance with national policy. The country allows clinics to provide abortion pills and only allows abortions up to seven weeks, including a mandatory one-week waiting period for a woman to “reflect” on her decision – while national guidelines The rule is 9 weeks.

Her partners in Italy’s centre-right political coalition, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, are also partly responsible for her popularity. Berlusconi appointed her as his sports minister, in his 2008 government, making her the youngest minister to hold that post.

She is frequently in contact with Salvini, whose popularity is dwindling. For the 2018 election, she was his junior partner in the center-right coalition. This time, she took power and hinted that, if elected, she might not give Salvini a list of ministers, which would strip him of his power to possibly bring down her government.

Silvio Berlusconi, Giorgia Meloni and Matteo Salvini greet supporters at the end of a protest against the Italian government in Piazza San Giovanni, on October 19, 2019 in Rome, Italy.

She differs from both Salvini and Berlusconi on a number of issues, including Ukraine, and has no connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unlike her election counterparts, who have said that they want to consider sanctions against Russia because of their impact on the Italian economy. . Instead, Meloni has steadfastly advocated defending Ukraine.

The prospect of a female leader in a traditionally male-dominated country has some wondering if she would be judged by a different set of rules than her male counterparts.

“We have never had a female prime minister. I think we’re definitely ready for it. I would also add that it is long overdue,” Dario Fabbri, a political analyst and editor of the political magazine Domino, told CNN. “But how society will accept her, I don’t know. That’s something she and we don’t know yet.”

Emiliana De Blasio, diversity and inclusion counselor at LUISS University in Rome told CNN that Meloni’s politics are more important than her gender, but first she hasn’t proven herself to be a feminist. .

“We need to reflect on the fact that Giorgia Meloni does not raise all questions about women’s rights and empowerment in general,” she said.

Fabbri admits Meloni may find it easier to find acceptance globally than in Italy, where only 49% of women work outside the home, according to the World Economic Forum’s gender survey.

“It will depend on how she will act. How will she introduce herself to world leaders. I think she’s walking a very thin line when it comes to her image, her past stance on many issues and she hasn’t done a lot of gimmicks in this election campaign so far. ,” he told CNN.

“But of course, being at the top of the government is something very different. So I think the way she is received will not have much to do with stereotypes against Italy but with the way she presents herself to world leaders. ”

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