Isaac Lavitt ’25
On September 25, Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) won the Italian election. For the first time since Mussolini, a far-right coalition won both houses of parliament and unseated the incumbent left-wing coalition. Descended from the supporters of Mussolini, the party has expressed support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, has often attacked the European Union (EU), opposes LGBTQ+ rights, and blames many of Italy’s problems on immigration. The election has left many questions about both how the new government will change the country, and the future of Europe.
Although party leader and prime minister Giorgia Meloni supports Ukraine in its resistance against Russia, other members of the four-party alliance have professed their admiration for Vladimir Putin and have remained conspicuously silent on the topic. The leader of the Forzi Italia, a member of the coalition, said that Putin only intends to install a government of “decent people” in Kyiv, spouting pro-Russia propaganda. Nevertheless, Meloni pledged during her campaign to continue to send arms to Ukraine if elected.
The party has shown disdain for the EU throughout their campaign, pledging to fight the “Brussels Bureaucrats” and, in the past, hoping to leave the EU. The president of the European Commission has emphasized that the EU has the power to keep countries in the Union, prompting many on the right to condemn the president’s comments as “shameful arrogance.” Although the party has lessened its anti-EU rhetoric, Italy leaving the EU would be devastating for the Union, leaving its fate in fragile hands.
Immigration has also become a hot topic of late. Meloni’s anti-immigration stance has created controversy in the nation by claiming that current immigration policies will turn Italy into the “immigration camp of Europe.” Other members of the coalition, such as Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League, have vowed to stop the “invasion” of refugees. Meloni’s anti-immigration stance leaves the future of Italian immigrant policy uncertain.
Giorgia Meloni is a controversial figure across the world. Her party has its roots in Italy’s dark, fascist past. She supports Ukraine in their fight against Russia, yet she associates with those who idolize Putin. She believes that the European Union is a group of bumbling buffoons but stays conspicuously neutral on whether Italy will remain in the EU. Additionally, the ideas of Meloni and her party often clash with those of her coalition partners. This all prompts the question: how long will her government stand? But more important: was September 25 a “sad day for the country” as her rivals believe? Or is it the beginning of a new, right-wing future for Italy?
Photo credit: Gregoria Borgia/AP