Pundit: Meloni's win spells nothing good for Slovenian minority or EU

Ljubljana, 26 September - The victory of Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy in Sunday's parliamentary election does not bode well at all either for the Slovenian minority in Italy or the EU, historian and political analyst Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič told the STA on Monday.

Historian and political pundit Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Right-wing parties won some 43% of the parliamentary vote, with Brothers of Italy, the descendant of a post-fascist movement, taking some 26%.

Lisjak Gabrijelčič notes that this is a consequence of Italy's electoral system and the fragmentation of the centre-left.

Meloni has won because the others let her win, he said. "26% for a radical right party is perhaps more that we envisioned, but it is not a spectacular result."

The right did not really get more votes than in the past, but relations between rightist parties have changed and Brothers of Italy are now the dominant party on this end of the political spectrum.

From 4% four years ago they rose to 26%, but this is a result of a dismal performance by the League of Matteo Salvini, he said, confident that Salvini will be replaced as party leader.

While the right had succeeded in closing ranks, the centre-left remained fragmented before the election. "It is difficult to understand why they had not managed to achieve any logical agreement, this is practically suicide."

A surprisingly good result, around 8%, was bagged by the centre Action and Italia Viva parties, which joined forces after parting ways with the centre-left Democratic Party.

Before the election, Meloni described herself as a conservative, highlighting that fascism was a thing of the past in her party.

Lisjak Gabrijelčič wonders what of this is truth and what is a mask.

It is telling that Meloni won the moment she showed her most moderate face. Voters did not award any extreme positions, and she understood that to win she must show a different side, he said.

Now it remains to be seen how she will lead the government. Meloni is inspired by the Polish right, but in the Italian political landscape and in the absence of a two-thirds majority, it will be difficult to govern this way.

She will have to take into account wishes from her coalition partners as well as those within her own party, which means appointing to important positions individuals who are much more radical than her.

Meloni might be currently showing a more moderate side, but her party is "the same as it was ten or 15 years ago, it is a post-fascist party", he warned.

This will affect Italy's relationships with Slovenia and the Slovenian minority, and there is nothing positive on the horizon, including regarding cross-border projects, he believes.

While the minority is concerned, former Slovenian prime minister and Democrats (SDS) head Janez Janša has already congratulated Meloni and the right bloc on the win.

"Whenever he has an opportunity, Janša signals that his party is actually a radical right party," said Lisjak Gabrijelčič.

At EU level, change is imminent as well. "The illiberal bloc will be strengthened, and this will carry a lot of weight in decisions that the EU will take."

According to him, Meloni, who supported arms supply to Ukraine during election campaign, could smooth relations between the Polish and Hungarian right. "She will strive to become the leader of this new illiberal European right, which is at its core a major threat to the European project."

© STA, 2022