THE RECENT administrative elections held in Italy certified, among other things, the success of what is now considered by many to be the most eligible next Italian prime minister: Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Brothers of Italy.
The right-wing party of Meloni, which has long aspired to build a large conservative party – something Italy has never had before – has certainly achieved a result beyond all expectations, becoming the preferential party of the centre-right coalition in all municipalities.
“FDI (Fratelli d’Italia) is the driving force of the centre-right. Now we are ready to rule,” Meloni said on Monday evening.
And at the same time with a pinch of malice but also steel typical of her character, she stated in no uncertain terms: “If I were Salvini and Berlusconi, I would leave the government.”
The leader of the League, who for months now seems to have lost his previous magic touch, now seems destined to leave room for the poor girl who was born in a working-class neighborhood of Rome. It’s worth noting Salvini led the League to become the first Italian party just two years in and obtained 38 per cent in the 2019 European elections.
Meloni, having come from humble roots, started her political journey at the age of 15.
Since then she has forged ahead, becoming the youngest provincial councillor in history, the youngest vice president of the Chamber, the youngest minister (under the Berlusconi government) and perhaps, in due course, the first woman in history to be appointed prime minister.
In this sense the vote was rather clear on who can, with good reason, expect the role of leader within the centre-right coalition, which includes Lega, Forza Italia and the Brothers of Italy.
Salvini himself seems to have finally declared that the party that gets the most votes has the right to express the premier. Meloni has now carved out an important role not only in Italy, but also internationally, both in Europe, where she holds the role of president of the ECR, and above all in the United States, where she is often invited by the Republican party as a guest to speak at conventions.
After voting on Sunday, Meloni flew to Marbella to support the candidate of Vox, a Spanish right-wing party, considered as a sort of twin of the Brothers of Italy, in the elections in Andalucia.
And on the other hand, even Meloni herself seems to have for some time become fully aware of what her role should be, which is to lead a coalition, which, as also reiterated by Salvini and as seen in these administrative offices, only cohesive and compact parties can hope to win the elections in 2023.
On the other hand, the result of the administrative vote was clear, FDI is the pivotal party of the coalition, with Forza Italia now reduced to a residual party, if not in some bulwark like that of the city of Palermo, and the League that seems increasingly out of breath and unable to regain the consensus lost in recent months, even in its historic strongholds.
Meloni knew with patience, constancy, perseverance, and ability, step by step to carve out a space for herself in what seemed like the natural challenge between Lega and Pd, with the Five-Star Movement as the third wheel.
Now a new and decisive moment is opening up for the centre-right, in which Forza Italia and above all Lega have to play their cards within a government that may no longer be able to give the answers that the voters of the two parties are asking for. The idea so dear to Salvini and perhaps even cherished for a certain period by an increasingly tired Berlusconi, of confederating the two parties, now seems to have faded, rejected by both Forza Italia’s elders and Salvini’s praetorians.
The new scheme envisages Brothers of Italy leading a coalition that must try to regroup before next year’s elections. But one thing is still clear – however the current government’s path continues, the next leadership candidate for the centre-right can only be Giorgia Meloni.
And as Matteo Salvini himself said, whose leadership, according to some, could begin to be questioned even within his own party, the centre-right wins only when it is compact and cohesive. And it is therefore obvious that he too, like former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who leads a party that is increasingly in difficulty and is now marginal within the coalition, will only be able to recognize Giorgia Meloni’s increasingly consolidated leadership.
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