An Important Signal
Italy gets a Far-Right Government for the first time since Benito Mussolini‘s Fascist era during the Second World War. As the voters in the southern European nation have shifted sharply, the Far-Right Brothers of Italy Party have won the Parliamentary Elections by a huge margin. With this, Giorgia Meloni has become the first female Prime Minister of Italy.
Meloni’s alliance, which also includes the Lega Nord (Northern League) Party of Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia Party, have secured nearly 43% of the votes, and 114 seats in the Senate. It may be noted that 104 votes are required for a majority. Hence, Meloni won a clear majority in the Parliamentary Elections, held on September 25, 2022.
Meloni, the one-time Mussolini admirer, has thanked her countrymen for electing her as the Prime Minister after her Eurosceptic populist party swept to victory, saying that she dedicated this victory to everyone. She has also assured the people of Italy that her Government would not deceive them.
Earlier, Mario Draghi resigned as Prime Minister immediately after his Coalition Government lost the confidence. Draghi’s technocratic administration had stabilised Italy over the past 18 months following the trauma of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Experts believe that Meloni’s Government would face a series of overlapping crises, as the energy shortages, triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have resulted in rampant inflation, undermining economic growth. The hit to Italy’s finances and the prospect of more interest-rate hikes from the European Central Bank (ECB) pushed the yield on Italy’s 10-year bonds to more than 4.3% compared with less than 1% in December 2021.
The European Union (EU) has started monitoring the current political situation in Italy, closely. Talking to the media, Geoffrey Yu, a senior FX strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London, has stressed: “The question is whether they will deviate from Draghi’s reform plan, which will impact whether the money will keep flowing from the EU.” Former Prime Minister Draghi reportedly spent nearly EUR 66 billion to help families and businesses, resisting the political pressure to expand the budget deficit. It could be one of the first dilemmas with which the Meloni Administration would have to wrestle. The Right-wing bloc has already opposed reforming the obsolete tax system and freeing up competition, the two key reforms pledged by Draghi to qualify for the EU funds.
The new Government in Rome will have to come up with its budget plan before the end of 2022. The Government will present the budget to both the Parliament and the EU. Experts recently predicted that Italy’s economy would grow only around 0.4% in 2023 compared to a 2.4% prediction released in April 2022.
Interestingly, Italy has elected an Ultra-conservative Government, soon after an Anti-immigration party made gains in Sweden. Experts believe that these developments would certainly have global implications, as Europe may experience a new Far-right wave soon. According to experts, one of the fundamental tenets of the Right-wing Politics is that domestic laws should supersede those of the EU. For example, one can mention the Brexit, and the rise of Viktor Orban in Hungary. At a time when Europe is going through an economic crisis mainly because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is a probability that Right-wing Politics will spread to more nations. Furthermore, Meloni’s premiership may also threaten the pan-EU unity on Russia. Although she has stated that her Government would continue to stand against Vladimir Putin’s aggression, both Salvini and Berlusconi tilted towards the Russian strongman in the past.
Meanwhile, the new Italian Parliament, which has been downsized to 200 senators and 400 Lower House lawmakers, shall meet on October 13 for the first time.
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