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Giorgia Meloni: Italy Elects First Female PM

Giorgia Meloni, founder and leader of the Brothers of Italy party, has formed the most right-leaning Italian government since WWII

Italy has elected its first female Prime Minister. The far-right Giorgia Meloni, founder and leader of the Brothers of Italy party, has formed the most right-leaning Italian government since World War Two, with some of her critics offering comparisons of Meloni and her government to Mussolini.

She holds strong right-wing opinions. For example, she opposes children being adopted by gay couples and wants to lift up the model of the classic nuclear, strong, supportive, Italian family. She also opposes immigration and wants to restrict migrants entering Italy. Speaking to Sky News, she said that she admires the likes of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

It seems the Italian left was unsuccessful in rallying enough support, with Meloni’s party winning 26% of the vote in the general election. Leading to her now forming a governing coalition with other right-wing parties. However, it’s important to note millions of Italians didn’t vote for Ms Meloni, with a low turnout of only 63.91%.

A rising trend in Europe?

This win echoes a recent rise in right-wing European nationalism seen across many European countries. The Sweden Democrats – a party with its routes in Neo-Nazism – became the country’s second-largest party. To Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally drawing in large amounts of support in France’s parliamentary election that took place earlier this year.

Giorgia Meloni

Giorgia Meloni @ Reuters

How will this affect the US and its policies?

This historic election is also going to affect American policy and relations between the President and Prime Minister.

Meloni recently struck an agreement with the US International Republican Institute to organise a major conference on Afghanistan in Rome. She has also previously said that Italy and the United States have “shared roots”.

Italy is a vital partner in securing NATO’s southern flank around the Mediterranean Sea. Meaning the Biden administration will be cautious with their approach toward Meloni, in an attempt to continue a positive relationship between the countries.

Many suspect Meloni’s election wins will make her a new favourite for US Republicans, especially for those still praising 45th President Donald Trump. And, Meloni previously said she views Steve Bannon – Trump’s former advisor – as an ally.

Financial pressures on European governments mean that populist politicians are increasingly likely to redirect Ukraine funds to domestic causes – which will lead to worry in Washington, which wants to maintain a strong Western coalition.

Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said recently, “like anything with a new administration, you’ve got to see how they act, not what they say.”

But, for now, it seems time will tell how this historic election will impact US-Italy relations.

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