With simple slogans, Giorgia Meloni has become the star of Italian politics. She is even more extremist than Matteo Salvini.
She starts in fluent English, then moves on to equally fluent Spanish, and then addresses the audience emphatically in her native Italian, as usual. Giorgia Meloni is an exception among Italy’s politicians who are not very linguistic. In a room in the Roman Senate, the head of the Fratelli d’Italia thanks her for being elected President of the Party of European Conservatives and Reformers.
But it is not her language skills that make the blonde 43-year-old the new star in Italian politics. She has made her party within two years of 4.3 percent to the third strongest force in the country with 16 percent. It is encouraging in a country where women have so far often been perceived as an attractive accessory to aging politicians, you could say. If it weren’t for the direction of your party. Surf tip: You can find all the news about the coronavirus in the news ticker from FOCUS Online
Called Mussolini a “complex personality”
Meloni fishes on the far right of the political spectrum in Italy. In a country whose right-wing voter potential has been almost 50 percent since the fall of the Christian Democratic Party. The ongoing economic crisis, made worse by Corona, reinforces this trend. If there were elections in Italy now, a center-right wing alliance consisting of Matteo Salvini’s Lega, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Meloni’s party would have a clear majority.
Meloni does not even distance himself clearly from fascism, which Italy never dealt with as meticulously as, for example, Germany did the Nazi dictatorship. In the party logo, Fratelli d’Italia uses the “Fiamma Tricolore”, a flame in national colors, to make a clear reference to fascist history. The party leader once said of Benito Mussolini, the former dictator, that he was a “complex personality who had to be seen in a historical context”. And there were times when Meloni hired Mussolini relatives for the party just to catch the last of Duce fans. Surf tip: All news about the US election can be found in the news ticker from FOCUS Online
Meloni attests to himself a “relaxed” relationship to fascism. And yet she now avoids open confessions, as well as the designation of her party as post-fascist. Instead, it postulates traditional family images and – unlike the entrepreneurial Lega – a strong welfare state. Promises that are currently well received by Corona-shaken compatriots.
“Femme Fascista” as head of government?
Polls now regularly confirm Meloni as the country’s most popular party leader. Before Salvini, whose League – still – has the greatest approval with 24.4 percent. The Roman profited from Salvini’s weaknesses and learned from his mistakes: his coalition with the political opponent, the failed attempt to force new elections, the media irrelevance during the Corona crisis and the isolation within the EU.
Meloni has probably learned how to eliminate political competitors: she has never done anything but politics since she was 15 years old. At that time she joined the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano, in whose tradition the Fratelli d’Italia stand. After years in local politics, she has been a member of parliament since 2006. In 2008, Silvio Berlusconi made her the youngest minister of the republic when he made her the Ministry of Youth.
Bella Italia is not enough meloni. She also wants influence in Europe. The election as head of the Eurosceptics in the EU Parliament is a first step. It also breaks with the habit of Italian politicians to see the EU as a sideline. With her sonorous voice she campaigned for a “different Europe”, a Europe of sovereign nation-states that fights against bureaucracy and immigration and upholds family values, among the EU conservatives who were connected via video. Same-sex marriages with children – no.
Soros: “Meloni is even more extremist than Salvini”
Sentences, just to the taste of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He was Meloni’s guest at a conference in Rome in February – along with young right-wing populists like Le Pen’s niece Marion Maréchal and the Dutchman Thierry Baudet. Meloni adapts their positions extremely smoothly. Instead of leaving the euro, she is calling for the reform of the strict euro stability rules; instead of promoting pure nationalism in Italy, she is campaigning for an alliance of nationalist parties in the EU.
The ambition of the “femme fascista”, as it was called in the “World Policy Journal”, apparently knows hardly any limits. She recently flirted with becoming the country’s first female prime minister. The decision is ultimately in the hands of the people. “But I think the country is ready for it.” She often delivers simple slogans such as: “I am Giorgia. I am a mother. I’m a woman. I am a Christian. ”Your audience is then carried away.
The Hungarian patron and democracy defender George Soros, on the other hand, is deeply concerned. Meloni, he says, is even more extremist than Salvini.