Giorgia Meloni, the front runner in the upcoming Italian elections, has more than one story to tell. Today, the favorite to replace Mario Draghi as Italian prime minister has dismissed claims that a government including her national-conservative party would pose a danger to Italy, insisting that there was “nothing to fear.”
Yet the fear is building to a crescendo despite the reassurance and some sources report that “foreigners plan to leave Italy” if she wins.
The hard-right leader has excoriated the European Union in the past, and she regularly blasts illegal immigration and George Soros. Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy Party, which leads the polls for the Italian elections, told La Stampa on Saturday that Italian left-wing think tanks were trying to scare the markets to secure a victory for the left. Italy has been plunged into turmoil since Draghi resigned as prime minister on July 21, with elections due to be held on September 25.
Meloni also sought to assuage any fears that a coalition including her party would reduce support for Ukraine. “As has been shown with [Brothers of Italy’s] position on Ukraine, there is nothing to fear,” she said. Brothers of Italy’s likely partners in a coalition, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Matteo Salvini’s League, have both questioned sending arms to Ukraine. But Meloni said that Italy cannot “think of being neutral without consequences.”
Yet just two days ago, speaking at Milan’s Piazza Duomo, Meloni stated, “if I win, for Europe, the fun is over,” and defended the principle of subsidiarity. The leader of the Democratic Party (S&D), Enrico Letta’s response was immediate: “It’s a disturbing phrase […] Should the centre-right govern, I fear it would be over for Italy.”
Meloni (Brothers of Italy, ECR) is leading a right-wing coalition with Matteo Salvini’s Lega (ID group in EU Parliament) and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (European People’s Party).
The two main candidates, Meloni and Letta, clashed on Monday at a debate organized by Corriere della Sera, in which both made their political lines clear regarding Europe. Meloni said the EU should be a political giant and not a bureaucratic one, dealing with the “big matters” and leaving to member states “the issues closest to the lives of citizens”.
The question is, which Giorgia Meloni would get elected? The one who reassures the people that a hard-right nationalist government is nothing to fear, or the one who threatens that if she’s elected “the fun is over”?