Giorgia Meloni’s Moment
The Italian right’s decisive election victory puts its leader in line to be the country’s first female prime minister and the first to claim an unambiguous post-Fascist lineage. But there is little reason to believe it will change Italy’s course in ways that matter either to markets or to the country’s international partners.
LONDON – When a “shock” or “extremist” election result comes with record-low voter turnout and a big yawn from financial markets, it is time to find new descriptors. The decisive victory in Italy’s general election by the coalition led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, putting her in line to be the country’s first female prime minister and the first to claim an unambiguous line back to Benito Mussolini, is certainly striking. But there is little reason to believe it will change Italy’s course in ways that matter either to markets or to the country’s international partners.
This election was that rare modern case in which opinion polls got the outcome largely right. It has been clear for at least two years that if the three main right-wing parties held together, they would win an absolute majority. The only thing that has changed materially is the balance within the coalition: during the technocratic, national unity government led by Mario Draghi from February 2021 until July this year, votes shifted away from the right-wing party that joined Draghi’s government, Lega, and to the party that stayed out, the Brothers of Italy.
This shift continued right up to the election, with the Brothers ending up with three times the vote share of either Lega, led by Matteo Salvini, or Meloni’s other coalition partner, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. This will greatly strengthen her position when forming her government, making it likelier than not that her government will last several years, or even the full five-year parliamentary term.
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