Elections in Italy: A new Italian right, with the voters who elevated Berlusconi | International


We will see how they govern if, as it seems, they win the elections. We will see what kind of president of the Council of Ministers Giorgia Meloni will be, a totem of the extreme right and proud of it, if, as it seems, her party, Brothers of Italy, is the most voted. But her electorate, judging by the public that came to the Roman square of Popolo, is the same as always. The right of all life, the one that for years voted for Silvio Berlusconi.

The place influenced. It was not a rally of those that are filled with buses and free sandwiches. To summarize: you could attend the great final ceremony of the campaign from the elegant terrace of the Canova café, six euros for a coffee, in the company of ladies exhibiting the latest advances in facial surgery and clueless tourists. Piazza del Popolo was also the place chosen (the next day, Friday) for the closing of the campaign of the Democratic Party, a black beast of the right, that is, it was not an ideological election. The place is simply beautiful and looks great on screen.

That’s what it’s all about, the phone screen, the viralization of phrases and images. Not crowds, because there weren’t any and they weren’t needed. There was so much free space left in the square that tourists, sometimes in large columns, could cross it from one side to the other to access the subway or the taxi rank.

This reporter, searching and searching, managed to find two fascists. “Black leg fascists”, they defined themselves, thus, in Spanish. They—one shorter, shaven, with a Tintin-style lock of hair, the other tall, square, and bearded—preferred not to say their names. Who asked them preferred not to insist. “Tifosi” from Lazio, tattooed with skulls and such, dressed in blue jackets decorated with the Italian coat of arms, said it was “time to straighten out the country.” And that the person capable of it was Giorgia Meloni.

Meloni, the true star of the thing, brought his youth from the National Youth, uniformed with blue shirts on which a phrase by Gabriele d’Annunzio, proto-fascist vate and prophet, hero of the Great War, aviator and father of the homeland: “Remember to dare, even against the wind.” D’Annunzio always dared. Even when, once, he fell out of a window and broke his head. The faithful of him called that “the flight of the Archangel”.

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Silvio Berlusconi, during the rally on Thursday, September 22, in Rome. Gregory Borgia (AP)

Now fidelity turns to Meloni. Two middle-aged ladies (and mid-lip surgery) who waved Forza Italia pennants and claimed to have voted for Berlusconi “since he entered politics to save Italy,” admitted that they liked “that girl,” Meloni. “But we will vote again for Silvio, we can’t abandon him now, poor thing.”

That term, “poor thing”, would have hurt The Cavaliere, which tries to maintain genius and, as far as possible and with a lot of paint on top, figure. He was, however, adjusting to reality. The man is old and frail. And, on top of that, they put him as an opening act, even under daylight, with people cold and chatting in small groups. He received as much applause, or as little, as Maurizio Lupi, that man that you probably don’t know and who, at the head of We Moderates (that’s what his party is called), represents the almost unknown fourth leg of the center coalition -right. Lupi and Berlusconi would become the center; Salvini and Meloni, the right that almost went out of frame.

Alessandro, a gentleman in his fifties and very well dressed (resident in the area, that is, well-to-do) said that “the three candidates” (poor Lupi, the fourth) seemed fine to him, although Meloni was better, of course. And that the first measure of the future right-wing government should be to drastically lower gas and electricity bills. And how is that done? “Very easy, everyone knows that prices have risen because of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange; speculators get in line and that’s it”. Ah, how beautiful are simple solutions.

From left to right: Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi and Maurizio Lupi, during the campaign closing rally held on September 22 in Rome.
From left to right: Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi and Maurizio Lupi, during the campaign closing rally held on September 22 in Rome.

The harmony in the right-wing coalition was palpable in the public. When Salvini, leader of the League, arrived at the square and walked through the crowd to get to the back of the stage, an hour before the rally began, many with Brothers of Italy flags came up to him to take selfies and hug him. .

Salvini, on trial for closing Italian ports to desperate immigrants, is the kind of interior minister that a very large part of Italian society likes. That part that in Piazza del Popolo felt sure of victory. “We are the majority, the vast majority, don’t you see?” asked a couple in their twenties.

No, it was not seen. Much more people could have fit in the square. But she showed up. “We have already won,” said Alessandro, the man who wanted to “get in line” with the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

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