Is she, or isn't she? And what would her inexperience mean for a major world economy?
September 24, 2022
Luca Mazzacane
(Pavia, Italy)
Alessandro Gosti
Turin

NB: Despite the campaigning in Italy having come to a halt (compulsory in the last 48 hours before Italian elections), the right continues to dominate Italian media and minds. While some follow the coalition enthusiastically, many other citizens fear Italy’s possible jerk to the far right. The potential election of Meloni’s right coalition could produce a swing that not only affects the country, but also the EU and the international order. That certainly justifies the extraordinary media attention it’s receiving. 

 

In the campaign leading up to Italy’s election tomorrow, Giorgia Meloni has gone to great lengths to assuage concerns about the extreme right-wing positions she espoused in her girlhood and in her not-too-recent past, and also to distract voters from her lack of experience. There are indicators that could guide voters. Here are some of the most cogent: 

 

  • Italy’s economy is the 3rd largest in the EU, and the 9th largest in the world. The only experience that Giorgia Meloni has in governing came from her three years (2008-2011) as youth minister in the last Berlusconi administration. 
     
  • Meloni has no education or training beyond her high school diploma. 
     
  • She has persisted in dog-whistling to those who would support her neo-fascist roots, including her continued use of the Mussolini-era slogan “God, homeland, family” and the Italian tricolor flame of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (formed in place of the National Fascist Party when it was banned). 
     
  • She takes her ideological and economic inspiration from Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, who has destroyed Hungary’s free media and opposition, and created economic instability for the country. And when the European parliament voted this month on whether Hungary could still be considered a full democracy, Meloni’s party voted against the resolution. 
     
  • In an opinion piece today for The Guardian, Roberto Saviano says that “the enthusiasm she shows about Hungary’s economic policies, especially its flat tax, betrays her naivety and should raise alarm about a financial meltdown in Italy on her watch.” 
     
  • And finally, in 2021, as Vladimir Putin was silencing the Russian opposition, free media, and his enemies around the world, Meloni wrote (in “I Am Giorgia”) that Putin’s Russia “defends European values ​​and Christian identity.”

    Despite her efforts to quell widespread concerns for the future of Italy and the EU under her watch, Giorgia Meloni has told voters who she is.
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