Home / Politics / News /  How Italy’s far-right swing will sway the world

Italy has elected an ultra-conservative government, soon after the election in Sweden that saw an anti-immigration party making gains. Observers are wondering if Europe is seeing a new far-right wave. Mint explains the Italian polls and the implications for the world

What happened in the Italian election?

The failure of a coalition government in late July triggered the election that concluded on Monday. A coalition of conserva-tive parties routed moderate and leftist opponents, and is set to form a new government. The Brothers of Italy, a party headed by 45-year-old Giorgia Meloni, led the coalition and has championed Eurosceptic, anti-immigration and anti-LGBTQ policies. The party has its roots in the Italian Fascist movement and Meloni, who may be the next prime minister, has previously voiced admiration for 20th century dictator Benito Mussolini. If Meloni does make it, she will be Italy’s first woman prime minister.

Why does this election matter?

The far right’s victory in Italy marks the latest development in a new conservative wave in Europe. The Sweden Democrats, once a fringe group linked to white nationalism, won 20.5% of the vote in a recent election to become the second largest party. In France, Marine Le Pen made strong gains in this year’s presidential poll, despite her eventual loss to Emmanuel Macron. Viktor Orban, another major figure in the European far-right, won a fourth consecutive term as prime minister of Hungary this year. These developments reflect a new reality— the far-right has become part of the mainstream in  European politics.

Photo: AP
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Photo: AP

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Why have these movements risen again in Europe?

These movements continue to tap into anxieties about immigration, sexual minorities, the rise of “woke" culture and the decline of traditional Christian values. As the Ukraine war triggers acute inflation and energy crisis, far-right parties have attacked failures of globalizing elites and liberal institutions for being out of touch with people’s priorities.

What will it mean for global politics?

Cracks may appear in the European project. The traditional Europhile bureaucracy in Brussels has cast a cold eye on the rise of the far-right. President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission recently referred to “tools" that could be used against far-right governments. However, Meloni is also a strong supporter of NATO and Western efforts in the Ukraine war. She has emerged as a prominent critic of China’s actions over Taiwan and believes Italy’s participation in the Belt and Road initiative was a mistake.

Will the global economy be affected?

Europe’s far right leaders are strong critics of globalization and the economic inequality fuelled by it. Much of the support for these movements, especially in Italy, comes from groups that have lost out as jobs and industries disappeared. This criticism extends to global economic institutions like the European Central Bank that are seen to be infringing on national sovereignty. For example, Meloni is an economic nationalist who resents foreign interference in Italy’s economy.

Elsewhere in Mint

In Opinion, Vivek Kaul reveals the British Raj did not steal just the Kohinoor. Deepro Guha & Aishwarya Viswanathan tell how to future-proof UPI’s ‘glocal’ payments model. Tyler Cowen presents a contrarian view on British PM Liz Truss's economic plan. Long Story narrates how China is forced to reel in its global tentacles.

 

 

 

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