Italian election: victory looms for the right

With just a few days to go before Italy's parliamentary elections, the post-fascist Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) party led by Giorgia Meloni still has a clear lead in the polls against the second-placed social democratic Partito Democratico. The right-wing bloc comprising the FdI, Lega and Forza Italia could thus achieve a comfortable majority. Europe's press discusses in which direction Italy's political compass is pointing.

Open/close all quotes
Sydsvenskan (SE) /

This will change the EU

A victory for the far right would make waves across Europe, Sydsvenskan worries:

“Meloni has already announced changes in the law - similar to those in Hungary under Viktor Orbán - that could become a reality if the three right-wing parties secure a two-thirds majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate: Italian law would be given precedence over EU law and the executive would be strengthened - with a directly elected president who has power over the government and can dissolve parliament. Only recently, Meloni sided with Orbán against the EU Commission. ... The partnership between the two is likely to raise concerns at future EU summits. ... This would be a historic change in an EU that is already challenged by anti-democratic forces.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

Fratelli d'Italia are not pro-Russian

Tygodnik Powszechny finds it reassuring that at least Meloni's party is not pro-Russian:

“The Fratelli d'Italia belong to the family of right-wing populists that Moscow has tried to woo and sometimes even finance, but - if recent statements by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for example, are to be believed - the party is financially clean and free of foreign agents. Meloni knows that a rejectionist stance towards Moscow is one of the basic conditions for the Western allies allowing her to freely carry out the business of governing so that she can keep her constituents happy in other areas, with the 'defence of values' and 'defence of borders' at the top of her list.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

A disservice to the women's movement?

To what extent can it be regarded as a success for Italian women if Giorgia Meloni becomes the country's first female prime minister? the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung asks:

“For part of the feminist movement, voting for Giorgia Meloni is out of the question anyway - irrespective of her success as a woman among men. A person who does not stand up for the rights of all members of a society and instead propagates xenophobic stereotypes can never champion the cause of feminism, they argue, warning against Meloni's sociopolitical visions. ... But what is already certain: with Giorgia Meloni as the only female politician at the centre of the Italian election campaign, women, their rights and their interests have suddenly became an important issue.”

Times of Malta (MT) /

Empty promises on all sides

In the Italian election campaign, voters are being promised the moon - by all parties, complains the Times of Malta:

“The right-wing coalition, expected to win the election on Sunday, has made 40 promises on public expenditure but only three commitments on how to fund them. The centre-left grouping led by the Partito Democratico made 66 public expenditure promises, with only four indications of how these will be financed. As predictable as heatwaves in August, all parties have a blanket response on how they can deliver on their promises without imposing new taxes or increasing the already frightening Italy's public debt. They all want to tackle 'tax evasion', a term used frequently in all parties' election programmes. Of course, despite this newfound zeal to tackle tax evaders, there is little indication of how this will be done.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Misleading PR with cat videos

We should not let ourselves be fooled by Meloni, warns The Guardian:

“She has recently been posting cat videos and heavily airbrushed selfies to cultivate a bland, vacuous image designed to win over moderates. It's striking, too, that unlike allies such as Matteo Salvini, who is synonymous with his draconian security bill, or Silvio Berlusconi, who has been pushing for a pro-wealth flat tax for years, Meloni has no flagship policy. ... Some commentators have interpreted Meloni's new, softer image as evidence she will be a moderate prime minister. Her party's record in local government suggests otherwise. In the Marche region, which Brothers of Italy has controlled since 2020, the administration has restricted termination of pregnancies to the first seven weeks.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Inflation plays into the hands of the right

Journalist Ferruccio de Bortoli comments in Corriere del Ticino:

“Social unrest is gaining support everywhere. Disordered globalisation has had a detrimental impact above all on the middle and working classes. The advancing economic crises with exploding energy costs have extended poverty. Immigration is perceived as a threat to national identity. The European Union has given an adequate response to the pandemic. However, it is difficult to find an agreement that would protect the families most affected by inflation. ... The growth of popular sentiment against the values of the EU is far more serious than the Brexit that so many people in the UK continue to lament.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

A crucial bond

Corriere della Sera stresses the importance of the EU for Italy:

“Europe has been a central theme of the election campaign. ... In the process, we have lost sight of the background of our relations with the EU, especially the decisive role that European membership has played for Italy over time. ... Why did our country join the Treaty of Rome in 1957? ... We should remember that at the time there were political and social forces that questioned the democratic system, the Western position and the market economy. Italy's fate had to be tied to those of countries that were more advanced and stable than ours in order to promote the growth and modernisation of the weak state apparatus.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

A nightmare for Beriln

Commenting on the visit of the head of the Italian Social Democrats, Enrico Letta, to Germany, La Repubblica writes:

“For Berlin, the mere possibility that the far right could unite along an imaginary line from north to south, linking Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Italy is a nightmare. ... The prospect of a new financial and industrial crisis caused by gas is now at the heart of all government action. So is the need for a united response to Putin's hybrid war. ... There is a fear that the European Union is experiencing a period of permanent paralysis. Unable to respond to the Kremlin or offer solutions to its citizens.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Social pact instead of neoliberalism

El Periódico de Catalunya sees misguided economic policies as the main cause for the right's success in Europe:

“The thought that the far right could govern in an EU state sends recurring shivers down our spine. ... Now we can only hope that Meloni will not be the next Italian prime minister. ... The solution is to restore the social contract that formed the basis for the greatest period of prosperity in European history: equal opportunities, economic growth and the burden-sharing pact. ... This pact was broken when the economy became financially driven, when globalisation stopped punishing tax and labour dumping, and when neoliberalism swallowed up social liberalism.”

Új Szó (SK) /

Energy crisis is boosting populism

It is imperative that the political centre in Europe takes the people's concerns about energy seriously, warns Új Szó:

“As European populists are often Eurosceptic, their coming to power in EU member states can undermine the EU's ability to act. At the moment, this is most evident in the area of economic sanctions against Russia. European populist parties mainly blame the sanctions for rising energy prices in Europe. ... The ruling European political centre must therefore find solutions to the population's concerns about energy as soon as possible, because the high energy bills and a possible recession in Europe will further increase the attractiveness of populists.”