As Mario Draghi is sworn in, a new Right is born in Italy

By Vincenzo Caccioppoli

ITALY has seen a new right-wing movement born, one that could change the political fabric of the country.

Brothers of Italy, a small party born from an offshoot of the centre-right People of Freedom in 2013, until now would never have been tipped to manage over five per cent of the vote.

Instead, the party’s leader Giorgia Meloni is placed by almost all the polls now well above 16 per cent. But how to explain such an exploit in just over a year?

Certainly the contingent situation of Italian politics has certainly helped the only party that has consistently remaining firmly anchored to its positions.

The failure of the ‘Yellow-Green’ government and the constant quarrels of the Giallorossi one can only favor those who have always remained out of the political theater of recent months.

Certainly some may say that for now the party remains perhaps too anchored to the personality of its leader, as in the case of Di Pietro’s Italia dei Valori, or Monti’s Civic Choice not to include the the more recent parties of Toti, Calenda and Renzi.

But unlike others, the strength of Fratelli di Italia is also in its ability to act as a megaphone for those feeling left behind and alienated from the Italian technocratic political mainstream.

Though the decline of Forza Italia, coinciding with the waning of the clarity and strength of its charismatic leader, demonstrates how without the construction of clear and well-defined policies and a team that knows how to carry it forward, you can’t go anywhere.

In this case it seems that the Italian far-right have learnt a lesson and now look to build a broad movement, both nationally and locally, around the charismatic figure of its leader.

A figure who has now also received important international recognition.

Giorgia Meloni was elected president of the party of European conservatives (ECR), the first woman and the first Italian politician to have such recognition.

“One is not worth one. For me meritocracy matters. Fratelli d’Italia is not a personal party. My commitment in recent years has been to be supported by a well-trained and experienced management class,” announced the newly elected leader.

And subsequent developments have shown these were not simply words of circumstance.

Brothers of Italy, despite being a small grouping of just 53 parliamentarians, have on several occasions been able to influence the proceedings of the Italian legislature.

But also in Europe the party’s five deputies, led by Carlo Fidanza have played a fundamental role in the European Conservatives group.

For some time, parties have been accused, thanks to the new Italian electoral law which effectively brings those appointed by the party secretariats to parliament, of having created a ruling class of yes man, who in exchange for the candidacy are ready to do anything for their leader

In Fratelli di Italia this is not the case, because in the party there are a series of activists who have built their careers over long years of political militancy in the ranks of the movement.

Unlike the more paludate parties, such as Forza Italia or the Democratic Party, the party also has a large following among young people, who have always represented a reservoir from which Meloni draws heavily, having held the position of youth minister under the Berlusconi government.

Then of course there is the unusual and unexpected publicity from a viral rap hit, mixed to the words of a Meloni speech, which has certainly contributed to raising the party’s profile among teenagers.

But behind the Meloni phenomenon there is a party that seems destined to grow and to count more and more in the Italian political panorama.

Vincenzo Caccioppoli is a Rome-based journalist focusing on international politics. He is the editor of the Farefuturo foundation in international politics.

Featured Image: Presidenza della Repubblica @WikimediaCommons

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