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

The National Alliance, formerly known as the Italian Social Movement, was an unjustifiably neo-fascist, formed by Benito Mussolini’s supporters. Meloni openly admired the dictator as a young woman, but later distanced herself from his brand of fascism – though keeping the tricolor flame symbolizing eternal fire on his grave in the emblem of the Brothers of Italy, the party she participated in found in 2012.

Now, the 45-year-old hardline looks likely to become Italy’s first female prime minister.

Her far-right party, Brothers of Italy, took just 4.5 percent of the vote in the last election in 2018, which precedes the group leading up to the September 25 general election.

Her popularity has since risen, in large part because she has kept herself in the spotlight with an active social media presence, kept his party on the line, and has never backed away from a conservative agenda that questions gay rights, abortion rights, and immigration. Policies.

It was also the only mainstream party that did not join the unity government formed by Mario Draghi after the fall of the Giuseppe Conte administration in 2021, and instead demanded new elections in place of another technocratic reform. When the Draghi government in turn collapsed in July, early elections began on Sunday.
A darling of the global conservative movement, Meloni was the favorite protector of Republican strategist Steve Bannon, who presided over his party conventions in Italy before the Covid-19 pandemic and his own legal woes. Bannon recently endorsed it again, telling CNN: “Meloney, like Thatcher, will fight and win.”
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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 identities, of what we stand for. We live in an age when everything they stand for is under attack: our individual freedom is under attack, our rights are under attack, the sovereignty of our nations is under attack, the prosperity and well-being of our families is under attack, and the education of our children is under attack. This, people understand that in this age, the only way to be a rebel is to maintain our identity, the only way to be a rebel is to be conservative.

She was raised by a single mother in the gritty leftist Garbatella neighborhood of Rome, far from the tourist attractions in the center of the capital. A group of old men who were sitting on a park bench in the area’s central square shook their heads at the mention of her name. “She doesn’t represent me,” cafe owner Mario Tagliani told CNN. “It doesn’t represent this neighborhood.”

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

Meloni represents a growing number of conservative Italians who agree with her ideals of a traditional family that go along with their strong Catholic Church.

The single mother is publicly opposed to the LBGT, threatening that same-sex marriages, which were legalized in Italy in 2016, may be under review.

She also called abortion a “tragedy” and areas in Italy where her party already handles has seen restrictions on abortion and a lack of services, including a failure to adhere to a national policy that allows clinics to offer abortion pills and only allow abortions. up to seven weeks, including the mandatory waiting period of one week for a woman to “think” about her decision – while national guidelines state 9 weeks.

Its two partners in the center-right political coalition in Italy, Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, are partly responsible for its popularity. Berlusconi appointed her Minister of Sports during his 2008 government, making her the youngest minister to hold the position.

She regularly feuds with Salvini, whose popularity has steadily dwindled. In the 2018 elections, she was his junior partner in the centre-right coalition. This time, she is in charge, and she has hinted that, if elected, she might not give Salvini a portfolio, which would strip him of the power to bring down her government.

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

It differs from Salvini and Berlusconi on a number of issues, including Ukraine, and has no connection with Russian President Vladimir Putin, unlike its electoral partners, who have said they would like to review sanctions against Russia because of their impact on the Italian economy. . Instead, Meloni was steadfast in her support for the defense of Ukraine.

Some question whether she will be judged under a different set of rules than her male counterparts, the prospect of a woman in a leadership position in a country traditionally dominated by men.

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“We’ve never had a female prime minister,” Dario Fabri, political analyst and editor-in-chief of the political magazine Domino, told CNN. “I think we’re definitely ready for that. It’s too late, I’d add too.” “But how the whole community will receive it is something I don’t know. It’s something unknown to her and to us.”

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

“We have to think about the fact that Giorgia Meloni doesn’t raise all the questions about women’s rights and empowerment in general,” she said.

Fabri acknowledges that it may be easier for Meloni to find acceptance on the global stage than in Italy, where only 49% of women work outside the home, according to a gender survey conducted by the World Economic Forum.

“It will depend on how she behaves. How she presents herself to world leaders. I think she has been walking a very fine line when it comes to her image, her past positions on many issues, and so far she hasn’t. She has made a lot of gaffes,” he told CNN. in this election campaign.

“But of course, being at the head of a government is a completely different thing. So, I think the way it will be received will not have much to do with prejudices toward Italy, it has to do with how it presents itself to world leaders.”

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