Italy’s Political Instability: Giorgia Meloni & the Brothers of Italy

Written by Jasper Danielson – Edited by Ran Cheng

Italy has experienced considerable political instability for the better part of the last century. Having just elected its 70th government since the end of the Second World War, Italy averages a new government once every 13 months. Much of this instability has been credited to two things: 1) precedence given to short-term consensus rather than far-sighted administration, and 2) financial instability. Consequently, Italy’s government has been both inconsistent and volatile.

Earlier this year, the resignation of Mario Draghi’s government left Italy no choice but to hold a snap election: “an election that is announced suddenly and unexpectedly”. Once again, the doors were open, and the election for a new government is set to take place. This time Giorgia Meloni, the clear winner in September’s elections, appears to be next in line as Prime Minister. But who is Giorgia Meloni, and what does her prominent rise to power imply for Italy?

Meloni, founder and leader of the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia, FdI), is described as a charismatic politician who has sought to brand her party as the country’s “dominant conservative force”. However, both Meloni and the Brothers of Italy appear to have more fascist ties than they let on. Most notably, the FdI has its roots in the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist party founded after the Second World War by one of Mussolini’s Chief of Staff. Thus, the MSI was home to both fascist officials and supporters of Mussolin’s ideologies. The link between these two parties is most obviously seen in the similarities between their respective logos: the FdI’s logo features the same red, white and green flame that was sported by the MSI. However, the resemblance between their emblems are not their only connection; Meloni herself was a member of the MSI’s youth branch in her adolescence, a fact that she does not shy away from to this day. Shortly after this time, in her early career, she even stated outright that “Mussolini was a good politician” (translated from Italian to English), claiming that everything he did, he did for Italy. She extended this claim, by expressing her belief that this level of dedication has been absent in every other Italian politician over the last 50 years, once again insinuating praise towards Mussolini.

Although Meloni has since gone on to criticize the dictator, her party has never renounced its fascist roots. She also remains in alliance with Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini, two politicians known for their far-right ideologies. These individuals both have close ties to Russia and have openly supported Vladimir Putin since the beginning of Russia’s war with Ukraine. Moreover, Berlusconi, former Italian Prime Minister himself, has “made harsh anti-immigrant statements, routinely trivialised Mussolini’s crimes and appointed lifelong neo-fascists to top jobs”. Salvini, along the same lines, is vehemently opposed to immigration and has insinuated support for Mussolini through a cryptic tweet referencing the former dictator on his birthday

Background and affiliations aside, Meloni is a passionate nationalist and populist. “The problem of migrant arrivals on our shores must be tackled at its source, with a ‘naval blockade,’” said Meloni, after calling for the Italian navy to blockade the north African coast. She declared that only those who are able to prove their refugee status should be permitted to enter. Unsurprisingly, Meloni holds very eurosceptic views, claiming that she wants to put Italy first. “It doesn’t mean having a negative stance toward others, it means having a positive one for ourselves that starts off from the defence of national interests, because everyone else is doing it,” Meloni contended. Yet, her ‘traditional’ ideology is not exclusive to her patriotism — Meloni is also in opposition to the LGBTQ. “I believe a child has the right to grow up with a father and a mother,” Meloni argued in response to an LGBTQ activist. “Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby”, asserts the set-to-be-leader. Her opinions are certainly very divisive — this becomes particularly apparent when looking at her following. Those who support her flock to her rallies, while those who disagree with her claim that she is a “danger to the democratic balance in Europe”. With such a polarizing individual at the forefront of one of the European Union’s largest economies, uncertainty is bound to follow. Although she has amassed a considerable amount of public support, Italy’s history of political instability may very well supersede her recent victories. On the one hand, Meloni says that she will not try to weaken LGBTQ rights, and that her nationalist stance will not jeopardize the Covid relief funds that Italy has been receiving from the European Union since the onset of the pandemic, among other promises. On the other hand, Meloni’s government is comprised of openly anti-LGBTQ officials, and Eurosceptic advocates. Thus, it is currently unclear whether Meloni’s affirmations are a reflection of her true intentions as a politician, or a mere way in which she hopes to gain public approval. In any case, Giorgia Meloni’s rise to power unequivocally represents a step backwards for society, to a time characterized by outdated philosophies and obsolete traditions.


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