In Italy the results of the parliamentary elections are being summarized, discussed and analyzed. New Italian parliament will start working on October 13. According to exit polls, right-wing parties won elections, and the first place was taken by the “Brothers of Italy”. Party leader Georgia Meloni is expected to become the first female Prime Minister of Italy.

Italy’s new dominant party

Italy’s right-wing alliance is composed of three parties, led by Giorgia Meloni (FdI), Matteo Salvini (League) and Silvio Berlusconi (Forza Italia), they secured between 41% and 45% of the vote, that is ensures them a majority in parliament.

“Brothers of Italy”: 22.5 – 26.5%; League: 8.5 – 12.5%; “Forward Italy”: 5 – 9%. The main political party of the country for the first time is now the right-wing party “Brothers of Italy” led by Georgia Meloni. She, as the leader of the party that won the elections, has paved the path to the post of Prime Minister.

“Brothers of Italy”: keys of success

The last two weeks in Italy were marked by increased activity of political parties trying to gain additional points in the electoral campaign. The “Brothers of Italy” clearly competed with Matteo Salvini’s “League” due to the similar narratives on internal policy. Meloni’s party left the competitors behind, showing, in particular, a strong position for Italy’s independence from Russian energy supplies. Meloni is a symbol of consolidation of the European right, which gained support on the wave of populism.
Italians liked the argument of ultra-conservatives on the background of migration issues and economic crisis. Meloni’s radical views are represented by an excerpt from her speech: “Yes to the traditional family, no to the LGBT lobby. Yes to the culture of life, no to abortion. Yes to Christian principles, no to Islamist violence. Yes to secure borders, no to mass immigration. Yes to our fellow citizens, no to international finance. Yes to the sovereignty of nations, no to bureaucrats in Brussels, yes to our civilization, no to those who want to destroy it…”.

Meloni promises a tougher method to “protect national interests”. Importantly, unlike other far-rightists, Meloni has taken a stronger stance on foreign policy and Russia’s war against Ukraine. She was also decisive in the Parliament, the “Brothers of Italy” voted for the supply of weapons to Ukraine.

The party leader has also been active in social networks, spreading her ideas of the future of Italy. She repeatedly bravely and confidently addressed the voters without any notes in her hands. She sought to prove the rightness of her ideas. Responding in time to world events and public sentiment, Georgia Meloni, whom observers had previously attributed to the extreme right or even neo-fascists, declared herself an ultra-conservative. The change of positioning has affected the party’s support in the campaign, and probably played an important role in the further career of Georgia Meloni.

Right wing parties struggle for votes

The desire of Italians for change and new faces in power led to the victory of the “Brothers of Italy” led by Georgia Meloni. “Brothers of Italy” stand for a strong Italy and for a strong Europe. They support NATO and the EU sanctions policy against Russia. Unlike Berlusconi, they call Russia an aggressor.

Salvini and Berlusconi are the main competitors of Georgia Meloni on the right flank. Their activity has increased, and their political views have softened due to the elections in the country and the war between Russia and Ukraine. Salvini, in particular, has attracted much criticism and controversy for his close ties with the Russians.
A decisive step from the party “Brothers of Italy” was the visit of Senator Adolfo Urso to Kyiv to establish relations between their political leadership, yet not in power, and Ukraine. He made it clear that Meloni and her party will act on the issues of arms supplies to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia: “Italy supports Ukraine together with European partners and Western allies”, assured Adolfo Urso.

Matteo Salvini’s failure

The support of Matteo Salvini was negatively affected by the fact that the trial against him in the case of illegal detention of migrants is still ongoing. He is accused of abuse of power and illegal detention. Salvini may face up to 15 years in prison. The ex-minister justifies that he acted to protect the interests of Italy and the government.

Salvini in the past honored Vladimir Putin, demonstrated it on Red Square in Moscow in a T-shirt with the face of the Russian dictator. Salvini wore the same T-shirt twice in the European Parliament. After Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine, Salvini quieted down with his diferambs to Putin. He did not support the invasion. The Italian right-wing radical leader even came to Przemyśl in early March, where tens of thousands of refugees from Ukraine were arriving. However, there he met criticism from the mayor of the city Wojciech Bakun: “Let’s go to the border and to the refugee center and see what your friend Putin has done”, he said.

The League’s popularity slipped from 19% at the beginning of the year to around 10% at the time of the election. So, Salvini, Putin’s Trojan horse in Italy, is gradually losing influence and ability to promote Moscow’s narratives. The League is likely to join the coalition of right-wing parties. However, due to a significant decline in support and election results compared to 2018, Salvini cannot now expect a high position in the new government and a significant impact on foreign policy.

We recall that as Vice Prime Minister in the previous government Matteo Salvini, who leads the League party, declared the need for new elections. The sudden withdrawal of three parties from the coalition (including the League) and the dissolution of the government increased political turmoil in Italy. Salvini believed that several months of sharp disputes showed the inability of the coalition government of the far-right League and the populist Five Star Movement to rule the country. However, these statements did not play in his favor and he did not succeed in the elections.

Berlusconi failed together with Salvini

Veteran Italian politician and close friend of Putin, Silvio Berlusconi, maintains a close friendship with Matteo Salvini. “We get along very well with the League, I had a fruitful friendship with Matteo Salvini, who is a good man, but he needs to be framed, he has never worked.” The former Italian Prime Minister, media magnate and billionaire also added: “None of these leaders has ever worked. And then who are we voting for? Only I worked, I am an idiot here,” – Berlusconi added. The uncertain relationship between politicians did not inspire confidence among the Italian voters.

The position of “Forza Italia” since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia in Ukraine was not defined. There was just silence. Then the first moderate position against the aggression appeared. Later, Silvio Berlusconi criticized NATO and said that “Europe should make a peace offer, trying to force Ukrainians to accept Putin’s demands. To supply weapons means to be an accomplice in the war”.

Similar in intentions to Matteo Salvini, Berlusconi has not been successful. His recent statements, issues and scandals have put him at a disadvantage. Compared to last year’s data, Berlusconi’s party has not grown in the ratings.

It is obvious that among other parties, the “Brothers of Italy” are the only ones that have rapidly increased in the rating, in fact from the very bottom. Other parties either only maintained the level of support or dropped. It should be noted that Lega was once at the very top, the party’s narratives were similar to Fratelli d’Italia. However, having Salvini’s failures, the “Brothers of Italy” surged ahead with their persuasiveness and pulled the right-wing electorate to their side.

What to expect in Italy’s foreign policy?

From now, practice will have to prevail over slogans. Meloni immediately finds herself in an unfavorable economic situation, starting with the issue of gas supply. In addition, it is necessary to cope with the inflationary crisis, as well as to implement reforms in the social and tax policy. Next in line is the budget law, which does not look flourishing.

Meloni said that the election results “are not a point of arrival but a starting point, starting tomorrow we have to demonstrate our value”. In her opinion, a concerted support for Ukraine will allow all “right-wingers” and even representatives of the “League” to have advantages when discussing and deciding on positions in the government, one of which is the foreign minister.

Now the attention is focused on the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who is expected to mandate Meloni with the task of forming the government as the first female prime minister in Italian history. Then history will do the rest.

The new Parliament consists of 600 members (400 deputies and 200 senators). Of the 400 seats in the lower chamber, 235 were won by the center-right. In total, the coalition led by Meloni, Salvini and Berlusconi failed to gain two-thirds of the seats needed for constitutional change. At the same time, the center-left will have 80 seats. The 5 Star Movement has 51 seats.

Italy’s support for Ukraine

With the beginning of the full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine, Italians did not stand aside and empathize Ukraiians with the tragic events. The most active ones were looking for ways to help and support Ukrainians. Italians expected the victory of the center-right in the parliamentary elections and hoped that the country would continue to support Ukraine.

Meloni, who will be the first female Prime Minister of Italy, has spoken out in support of a tough line against Russia, promising to maintain both sanctions and continue sending weapons to Ukraine. Other right-wing forces are trying hard to achieve an easing of sanctions against Russia.

Berlusconi and Salvini have repeatedly expressed admiration for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. After the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Salvini was cautious in his remarks, while Berlusconi claimed that the Russian invasion was intended to install a government of “decent people” in Ukraine. Later he tried to justify himself and said that the aggression was unacceptable. But it was too late.

It is clear from political discussions and statements of politicians that Italians are concerned about the Ukrainian issue. Italians are aware of Putin’s war against Ukraine and mostly support Ukraine in confronting the aggression.

The work of the coalition of Fratelli d’Italia, Lega, Forza Italia will address 15 key issues of the country, from energy to taxation, through industrial policy and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (EU funds for the development of the country). Ultra-conservative Meloni will soon form the next government of Italy. We will find out in the coming weeks how the new government formed by right parties will lead foreign policy and support Ukraine.