Meloni: campaign with controversial flame logo

A green, white and red flame has become the focus of the Italian election campaign: despite criticism, the post-fascist party Fratelli d'Italia is sticking to the symbol on its logo, which is supposed to represent the eternal flame on the tomb of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The party's leader Georgia Meloni distanced herself from antisemitism and the suppression of democracy under fascism, but commentators remain sceptical.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Moderate only in its avowals

The Rome correspondent of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Oliver Meiler, does not buy Meloni's supposed reformation:

“Her Fratelli d'Italia are moderate only in their avowals. But in reality they call for measures like a sea blockade against migrants. Their renunciation of fascism is perfectly timed for the elections. That's why their message seems opportunistic. Now they have presented their party symbol, and lo and behold, it is the old one. So they persist in using the tricolor flame with the black bar. The flame stands for the spirit of Benito Mussolini ... . Clearly Meloni didn't want to scare away the nostalgics among her electorate. ... And when she says she is proud of the symbol with the flame, even the most beautiful words of appeasement fall flat.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Dealing with the past unimportant for this politician

La Repubblica finds Meloni hasn't gone far enough in her attempts to distance herself from fascism:

“Only the democratic confusion of a country that resists the duty to come to terms with its history can explain the delay and underestimation of an act that is one of the duties of any politician: the rendering of accounts. ... Meloni has remained silent until the end. Perhaps she believed that her clear pro-Atlantic stance, also in supporting Ukraine against Russia, could push the issue of fascism into the background and reduce the need to provide clarity about the cultural origins and political trajectory of a young politician who could become prime minister of a major Western democracy.”

Polityka (PL) /

Meloni's pragmatism will prevail

Polityka is confident that there won't be a radical shift in Italy:

“Despite her anti-systemism and her blatant apologist attitude towards the legacy of Italian fascism, Meloni is very pragmatic. She knows that the country's main problems are economic in nature: inflation, a looming energy crisis and a drought that is affecting food prices and forcing the government to pay millions in compensation to farmers. Without EU funds, any government here will collapse, regardless of its ideological orientation. And Meloni seems to understand this perfectly.”

Válasz Online (HU) /

Reassurance strategy launched

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will hardly be able to count on Meloni as an ally against the EU, observes Válasz Online:

“In their joint government concept programme, the right-wing parties claim to support European integration [unlike a year ago] and Ukraine, which is fighting off the Russian invasion. ... It is highly questionable whether Rome, for example, would be willing to enter a conflict with Berlin and Paris by pushing for the money to which Hungary is entitled but which has not yet been disbursed is paid out to the country. The reason for the change of heart is that Meloni and her allies want to reassure investors and European partners who are nervous about her potential rise to power.”