PLMR Founder Kevin Craig on GB News discussing the Italian election and Giorgia Meloni’s victory

Kevin Craig

Founder and CEO

Last night on TV in the UK we discussed a number of the day’s big stories.  Aside from the British Government’s very badly received announcements on the economy (more of that elsewhere) we also touched upon politics in Italy.

Italy has just gone to the polls and the Coalition Government that will emerge will be led by the first ever female Italian Prime Minister. Big news.  I think it’s a really interesting election result, and also from a personal perspective, worrying because of the relatively extreme politics of the new PM.  Some are saying it’s the most far Right government since the Fascists in World War Two.  Whatever the correct label actually is, the Italian people have spoken democratically and how this has come about is fascinating.

One thing that is salient to note is that politics in Italy is highly personalised around the Party Leader and this is particularly true around Meloni.  Whilst it is an election for a Prime Minister, the style of it all is very presidential and resembles more the USA than it does the UK.  You can see in a sample of election logos below just how prominent the Party Leader is when selling a party to the voters.    She was a huge plus for the Brothers of Italy party this time round.

Also, turnout was low in this election – mid 60%.  Meloni has taken advantage of that. You have to conclude that as well as it being a triumph for Meloni, this General Election is somewhat of a failure by the Italian Left to make a case that they had the answers to the top issues for Italian voters namely cost of living, the energy crisis and immigration, amongst others.

Talking to friends and contacts in Italy this morning, there is a palpable sense that a lot of voters have somehow stumbled slightly unknowingly into this result.  Contacts also speak of a lot of celebration on social media by women voters lauding that for the first time Italy has elected a female Prime Minister, celebrating her victory in a manner that is not linked to her policies but just her gender.  As it happens, her politics are ultra Conservative by any measure, with clear positions on being anti-abortion which a number of female voters are deeply concerned about in terms of a woman’s right to choose. She’s also anti gay marriage and LGBT rights which to me feels very old fashioned. I detect huge uncertainty amongst Italians about what this all is going to mean. Lest we forget, Italy is still hugely reliant on EU investment, and foreign energy supplies so radical departures from some existing policy area are going to be tough for Meloni to implement.

And perhaps this is controversial for me to have said last night, but yes, I do really think that the now widely viewed speech by Meloni from 2019 (watch that again here courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine ) does echo in terms of the tone, staging, ambience, references to combat, rhetoric, fighting to protect the motherland, a threatening unnamed other, conspiratorial references to plotting financial hegemonies,  many of the far right speeches in the past in Italy. That is disconcerting.

So the word from the ground in Italy can be summarised as follows:  Many are truly jubilant. Equally many are scared.

Those of us in the rest of Europe can only hope that the new Prime Minister will – as she has vowed – govern from a more moderate position, for ALL Italians, than the manner suggested in her notorious speech of 2019.

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