The new right in Italy: Salvini’s creeping fall

Status: 15.09.2021 02:18 a.m.

In Italy, Lega boss Salvini will be tried from today. The allegations are abuse of office and deprivation of liberty – because two years ago he refused entry to the rescue ship Open Arms. But Salvini’s star is also on the decline politically.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD-Studio Rome

Matteo Salvini, superstar of the Italian right? That was once. In the current, nationwide local election campaign, someone else is currently filling the rally places: Giorgia Meloni, the head of the post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia party. Thousands of people cheered for her in Trieste these days, including “Giorgia-Giorgia” choirs.

In the polls, Salvini and his Lega are no longer ahead, the first figures after the summer break confirmed: Currently the strongest party in Italy are Melonis Fratelli d’Italia (translated: Brothers of Italy). In their party symbol there is a flame in green, white and red national colors – a symbol that they have adopted from their neo-fascist predecessor party MSI.

Bet against corona measures and migrants

Meloni, the new identification figure of the Italian right, railed against the anti-corona restrictions and the arrival of boat migrants during their election campaign appearances.

I’m not afraid to say: There is no point in restricting the fundamental freedoms of Italians with a thousand rules and at the same time letting 40,000 people go ashore since the beginning of the year.

In terms of content, Meloni is even further to the right than Salvini. In her demeanor beyond election campaign events, however, the 44-year-old Fratelli boss presents herself smarter than her right-wing rival, says the head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Rome, Nino Galetti.

She is the only woman among the leaders of the major political parties. She is intelligent, is not quite as vulgar, as populist as Salvini. Many Italians have noticed in the past that it is too creaky. She makes it all a little more moderate.

At least in tone. Politically, Meloni stands for law and order, a commitment to national identity and a hard hand against migrants. Meloni says she has a “relaxed attitude” towards fascism, and not everything under Mussolini was bad.

Fratelli d’Italia only opposition party

Melonis Fratelli d’Italia are the only large parliamentary group that is not part of the Draghi government and is in fact currently the only opposition party in the country. In addition to the winning nature of the party leader, this is the main reason for the rise of the far right party.

Salvini, on the other hand, has decided to participate in the Draghi government. There the Lega boss regularly taunts against the corona policy, but Draghi also regularly brings him into line. Many previous Salvini fans have the impression that their beloved hardliner has become a turning neck. Galetti says:

The problem with Salvini is that he is trying to be both government and opposition at the same time. And that’s just not going well. You can see that in very specific political issues. For example, how far should the vaccination certificate be expanded? Salvini speaks partly against his own government and of course the political opponent impales that. And that makes Salvini unbelievable.

Salvini is calm

In addition, Salvini’s populist tones against migrants have not been able to get through since the beginning of the pandemic. As a result, Salvini’s Lega crashed in the polls within a year, from 30 to only 20 percent. Melonis Fratelli d’Italia, on the other hand, have a strong back, their poll numbers have quintupled since the last election and are currently – for a long time unimaginable – with 21 percent in front of the Lega.

Salvini shrugs his shoulders: “If the center-right camp grows overall, it should be fine with me – and the center-right will ultimately have the absolute majority in the country.” The duel over who will lead Italy’s rights in the parliamentary elections in one and a half years has begun. The trend says Meloni, Salvini is currently only number two in the right-wing camp.

Salvini’s crash – Meloni new star of the right

Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Rome, September 15, 2021 00:01 am

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