July 31, 2021

The irresistible rise of Giorgia Meloni, the Italian Le Pen Navy


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Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, the two figures of the Italian far right, assure him: everything is going very well between them. “Thank you, Matteo! Replied the energetic 44-year-old Roman woman when the leader of the League took advantage of Mother’s Day to greet her. on Twitter. We will soon give Italy the government it deserves, no matter who wants to see us divide! “But behind these courtesies, fire is smoldering between the two allies. The party chaired by the patroness of the Brothers of Italy (FdI), which stagnated at 4.4% of the vote in the 2018 elections, has now reached 20% of the voting intentions – barely two points behind Salvini, who has long pranced in the lead. This spectacular increase could well change in depth. the Italian political landscape for the coming years.

“Through a game of communicating vessels, Meloni nibbles, month after month, the electorate of Salvini”, notes Pietro Castelli Gattinara, researcher at the Center for European Studies of Sciences Po. If this momentum continues, Meloni could soon supplant him as leader of the conservative bloc and deprive him of his dream: to become the next Council president. Because the alliance of “center right”, bringing together FdI, the League and Come on Italy!, the movement of Silvio Berlusconi, foresees the attribution of the post of Prime Minister to the leader of the party which obtained the most votes. And the polls show this winning coalition in the event of early legislative elections – a scenario that is far from being excluded …

Giorgia Meloni, here at a meeting in Bari on December 16, 2019.

Giorgia Meloni, here at a meeting in Bari on December 16, 2019.

Davide Pischettola / NurPhoto / AFP

Member of Parliament since she was 29 and youngest Minister of the Republic, at 31, Meloni can already see herself there: “I am preparing to govern the nation”, proclaims this Italian Marine Le Pen, activist, in adolescence, in a post-fascist organization. An original commitment about which she maintains an ambiguous attitude – she thus called for the reestablishment of November 4 as a national holiday: she considers the anniversary of the victory of the First World War “more unifying” than April 25, the day of the Liberation from Nazi occupation, or on June 2, that of the birth of the Italian Republic, in 1946.

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Meloni, the only official opposition to the government

The context works in its favor. His choice to remain in the opposition allows him to attract discontent with government action. Conversely, Salvini finds himself in an uncomfortable position, muzzled by his participation in the broad coalition formed in February around the former director of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi. Meloni skilfully sends him back to his contradictions. Example with the motion of censure filed against the Minister of Health, labeled on the left: while he had denounced for months his alleged incompetence, Salvini had to resolve to support him. But he doesn’t give her a present either. He thus refused to cede to him a strategic post, yet traditionally held by the opposition: the parliamentary presidency of the control committee of the intelligence services. “Our relationship oscillates, acknowledged Meloni for the Corriere della Sera. At certain times, we often speak to each other, at others, it is less the case … ”

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In fact, their agendas are much the same: these two Eurosceptics plead for the traditional family and national preference, and for more firmness towards migrants – she recently called for a “naval blockade on Libya”. “Unlike Salvini, she never changed her speech, underlines Senator Giovanbattista Fazzolari, political advisor and friend. It is her great strength and that explains her popularity.” Published in early May, his autobiography, I am Giorgia, is among the best-selling books. Mother of a 4-year-old girl, she mirrors her conservative ideas and a journey full of hardships: her weight problems in her childhood; the way she and her mother, sister and herself managed on their own after their father, a “communist” abandoned them; and his progression in a political environment deemed macho. “This controlled narrative allows her to promote an image of a strong woman”, argues Pietro Castelli Gattinara. What to convince the undecided conservatives … and to undermine a little more the support of “his friend Matteo”.


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