‘Una Vittoria Storica’ – a historic victory. The website of one of Italy’s leading newspapers, Corriere della Sera, reacted with these words to exit polls released after voting closed on Sunday night in Italy’s general election.
With a vote share estimated between 40-45 percent, the right-wing coalition led by Giorgia Meloni appears to be headed for a clear majority with at least 230 seats out of 400 in the lower house.
It’s a big win for Meloni’s party, the Brothers of Italy. Various agencies had estimated it to get around 25% of the vote. This was higher than the total vote totals of the two main parties, as Matteo Salvini’s league was projected to receive around 8-9% of the vote, with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia just behind.
In just four years, the Brothers of Italy has become a major right-wing player in the country’s politics. In 2018, he won 4.4% of the vote, compared to the league’s 17.4% and Forza Italia’s 14%. If we look back a little further, Italy, after being dominated by a middle-right populist party (Forza Italia) for more than 20 years, is now dominated by a right-wing populist party (Brothers of Italy).< /p>
Many things have happened for the first time since the victory of the Brothers of Italy. Italy will have the first female prime minister and the first extreme right-wing majority government in both Italy and Western Europe since the fall of Mussolini and the end of World War II.
Who is Giorgia Meloni?
Beginning in the early 1990s as an activist in the post-fascist Italian social movement in the Roman working district of Garbatella, Meloni rose to prominence in a political climate that did not deny his legacy. He said in a 1996 interview with French TV that Mussolini was a ‘good politician’ and ‘what he did, he did for Italy’.
While Meloni now says that Italy has given fascism a place in history, remnants of it remain in her party’s political roots. For example, the flame in the party’s election symbol has been derived from the post-fascist Italian social movement, and more recently there have been instances of its politicians and supporters giving a fascist salute.
The success of Meloni and his party can be traced back to Berlusconi’s entry into politics in 1994. His mid-right Forza Italia movement legitimized by bringing two smaller radical right-wing parties (the Northern Regional League and the National Alliance) into a coalition that easily won that year’s general election.