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Italian Politics

Started by Sheilbh, February 10, 2021, 08:54:57 AM

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The Larch

President Mattarella has not accepted Draghi's resignation.


Hopefully the threat of resignation is enough to scare some of the pols back to supporting Super Mario, but I have my doubts.
The medievals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari as the best reason a man could give to others for making him a bishop. Give me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you care to call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers.

Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people.

-J. R. R. Tolkien

The Larch

And it has all gone down the drain.

Draghi went before the senate today for a final outright confidence vote on his government, and both the M5S and the right wing parties in government (Lega and FI) ended up not voting for it (they didn't vote against it either, but simply left and refused to cast a vote). With this lack of support in his government plainly on view, Draghi will now go once again to meet with Mattarella, the Italian President, presumably to offer his final resignation. It is being hypotethized that new elections will take place in late september/early october.



So the right-populists and fascists have like 40% of the vote...  :bleeding:


45% if we include Berlusconi :ph34r: 

Plus, obviously, whatever Conte's M5S is these days.
Let's bomb Russia!


Italy also has a pretty bad (in my view) majoritarian system. But FdI, Lega and FI have agreed to split the constituencies to maximise results. Ratio is something like Fratelli with about 100, Lega with 70 and FI with about 40. Whichever of the three gets the most votes gets to nominates PM with the support of the other two.
Let's bomb Russia!

The Larch

Italy's electoral system is absolutely terrible. The 2005 reform made by the last Berlusconi government was specifically designed to be a mess (the infamous "Porcellum"), and ended up being declared unconstitutional, as well as its 2015 amendment (not as much because of the reform itself but because of the failure to further reform the Italian Constitution).

They're now running on a law enacted in 2017 which mixes first past the post seats (roughly 1/3) and PR seats (roughly 2/3), with some extra seats for overseas constituencies. This year they'll also implement a reduction in the number of seats in Parliament (from 630 to 400) and Senate (from 315 to 200). At least they got rid of the majority bonus (I think) and the different thresholds for electoral alliances and single parties (I think).

The Larch

QuoteRussian links to Italian right threaten Meloni's election campaign

Opponents of the right are demanding to know if Vladimir Putin brought down Mario Draghi's government.

After Mario Draghi's coalition government collapsed, plunging Italy into fresh turmoil, an unsettling question is hanging in the air: was the Kremlin involved?

Two incidents involving contact between right-wing party chiefs and Russian diplomats have triggered a round of finger-pointing in Rome as the election campaign gets into gear.

The row threatens to damage the standing of Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the popular far-right Brothers of Italy party, who stands to become prime minister at the head of a new right-wing coalition after the poll on September 25.

At stake more broadly is Italy's international reputation and the question of whether Rome will remain a solid and dependable part of the Western alliance against Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine.

In the first incident, in May a Russian embassy official asked a foreign affairs adviser to Matteo Salvini — Meloni's ally in the far-right League party — if he intended to pull his ministers out of Draghi's coalition, according to La Stampa newspaper on Thursday, which cited intelligence reports.

The second incident centers on Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's former PM and a long-time ally of Putin's. Berlusconi, who leads the center-right Forza Italia party, spoke to the Russian ambassador on the day that he withdrew his backing for Draghi's government, according to reports in La Repubblica on Friday.

Salvini has dismissed the report and Berlusconi is yet to comment. But opponents of the right are kicking up a fuss.

Enrico Letta, leader of the center-left Democratic Party, and former PM Matteo Renzi called for an investigation by the parliamentary intelligence committee. "The election campaign is beginning in the worst possible way," Letta said. "We want to know whether it was Putin who brought down the Draghi government. If that was the case it would be of the utmost gravity."

Lia Quartapelle, foreign affairs spokesman for the Democrats, told POLITICO that the reports were "scandalous" and would not help Meloni's chances of becoming PM. "Allies will be watching with great concern I imagine. If any government spoke like this even to the U.S. embassy in this way it would be a problem, and we are talking about the Russian embassy." Quartapelle said that the reports on Salvini or Berlusconi would not improve Meloni's chance of becoming prime minister, but were damaging for the entire right.

The newspapers' reports reinforce the impression that Italy's right-wingers are too close to Putin.

Both Salvini and Berlusconi have well-established relationships with the Russians. Over the years Salvini has often expressed his admiration for Putin, saying he could be prime minister of Italy, and wore a T-shirt of Putin's face to the European Parliament. Salvini has also spoken out against sending more arms to Ukraine.

Salvini was forced to cancel a "peace mission" to Russia in May after it emerged that his parallel diplomacy effort did not have government authorization, and the Russian embassy had paid for his flight to Moscow.

As for Berlusconi, he was reportedly critical of Draghi's position on Ukraine after the call with the Russian ambassador, who claimed that the invasion was necessary because the risk was that Ukraine would attack Russia.

In his time as prime minister, Berlusconi established a personal rapport as well as a political friendship with Putin based on shared economic interests. His criticism of Putin since the invasion has been muted, only saying that he was disappointed in the Russian leader.

Their ambivalence over Ukraine may appeal to a substantial chunk of voters who are against sending weapons to Kyiv and who regard Russia and Ukraine as equally at fault.

Salvini's political stronghold includes the Italian northern manufacturing power base that does a lot of business with Russia and is being harmed by sanctions. 

But the ambiguity is likely to harm the credibility of Salvini and Berlusconi's ally on the right, Meloni, who is leading the polls. She has taken a clearly pro-NATO position that Russia is the aggressor since the beginning of the war, as she attempts to portray herself as a respectable and safe pair of hands.

"If a new Italian government is more sympathetic to Russia, it would be a concern to Italy's allies," historian Margaret MacMillan, professor at Oxford University, told POLITICO, adding that the Americans will likely be watching with alarm. "Italy could be placing itself in the same pro-Russian camp as Hungary and Serbia and become a concern for Germany and France."

Salvini dismissed the reports and the concerns as propaganda from the left. He told MPs in a message: "A desperate and divided left, with some foolish servant in some newsroom, passes their time to look for fascists, Russians and racists which don't exist. The 25th September finally we will have change."

A League spokesman said that the person who spoke to the Russian embassy official, Antonio Capuano, has never been a formal part of the League, although has advised them from time to time.

A spokesman for Berlusconi did not immediately return requests for comment.


I don't want to be conspiracy minded - but literally everything I've read about Italian politics makes me see conspiracies everywhere - but it seems to me that this is helpful for Meloni and the FdI as the main party of the right coalition. She gets to position herself as a strongly pro-Atlanticist and pro-EU on the right which might help increase her support on the mainstream right (despite leading a "post-fascist" party) - and also probably strengthens her hand (if FdI do best) to get a mandate from Mattarella.

Also I'm not totally sold on the line that Lega brought down Draghi to help Putin. Lega also brought down the one man between them and a majority right government - self-interest and Putin's interest were aligned.

Separately and I could betotally wrong, butif they win I suspect they'll focus domestically and in entrenching their position rather than picking fights with western allies - so I expect they'll be more likely to do the bare minimum than actually sabotage like Hungary.
Let's bomb Russia!


Thread of Meloni basically talking about "great replacement" theories - again too extreme for Le Pen, possibly next PM of Italy:

Apparently if she does become PM she's planning an early summit with Scholz and Macron to show her moderate and pro-EU credentials. As I say I suspect she'll be far less outwardly confrontational with the EU than and other EU leaders than Salvini was at Interior. Instead I suspect she'll follow the Orban model of consolidating power domestically and then milking the EU and using it to advance her agenda with even more brutal "fortress Europe"/Frontex focused policies.

I think one of the most interesting and worrying trends right now is the convergence of far-right forces in different countries on basically a far-right vision of the EU rather than just confrontation. I remember seeing a lot of commentary that the mess of Brexit made it so even the far-right were dropping outright hostility to the EU, which is true. But I think it's equally true that Orban especially has shown that you don't need to leave to deliver your agenda.
Let's bomb Russia!

The Larch

You'll see that most of those posts are from a while ago, when the party was at the fringe and they could say and BS that passed by their minds without much worry. Now they've gone into a turbo reputation wash in order to appeal legitimate and mainstream:

QuoteScepticism over Giorgia Meloni's claim 'fascism is history' in Italian far right
Critics say message is part of election game plan and point to recent speech on immigration and homosexuality

A declaration by Giorgia Meloni, who could be Italy's next prime minister, that her far-right party has consigned fascism to history has been greeted with scepticism.

In a video message issued on Wednesday, Meloni, who leads Brothers of Italy, a party with neofascist origins, said the Italian right had "handed fascism over to history for decades now" and "unambiguously condemns the suppression of democracy and the ignominious anti-Jewish laws".

In the video, spoken in English, French and Spanish and directed at the foreign press, she said Brothers of Italy was nowadays more akin to "the British Tories, the US Republicans and the Israeli Likud".

Brothers of Italy leads a coalition that includes Matteo Salvini's far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, which is forecast to win general elections on 25 September.

The video sparked a row with her rival Enrico Letta, the leader of the centre-left Democratic party, who implied her comments were merely cosmetic.

Meloni has worked hard to remould her party, pitching it as a conservative champion of patriotism. In her book, I Am Giorgia, she insisted she did not belong to "the cult of fascism".

However, there are clear signs that Brothers of Italy, a descendant of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a party set up by a minister in Benito Mussolini's dictatorship, has not completely severed ties with its past.

Meloni joined the youth wing of MSI at the age of 15. Among the first people she met was Marco Marsilio, the current president of the Abruzzo region.

MSI later morphed into the National Alliance, whose youth movement was led by Meloni before the party was dissolved and she went on to found Brothers of Italy.

Brothers of Italy has retained MSI's tricoloured flame in its official logo and its headquarters is at the same address, on Via della Scrofa in central Rome, where MSI set up office in 1946.

Mussolini's granddaughter Rachele, a member of Brothers of Italy, won the most votes in Rome's council elections last October. Enrico Michetti, who was the party's mayoral candidate, said during his campaign that the stiff-armed Roman salute, which has fascist connotations, ought to be revived as it was more hygienic in times of Covid-19.

A few days after the elections, Meloni told Corriere della Sera there were no "nostalgic fascists, racists or antisemites in the Brothers of Italy DNA" and that she had always got rid of "ambiguous people".


More recently, Meloni, whose motto is "God, family and country", travelled to Marbella where she expressed her hardline views on immigration and homosexuality during an aggressive speech at a rally held by her party's Spanish far-right counterpart Vox.

"The video [on Wednesday] is so different from the speech she gave at Vox," said Luciano Cheles, a professor emeritus of Italian studies at the University of Grenoble. "She's cunning ... obviously she adapts her appearance and attitude to the audience."

Cheles's research has found that fascist imagery was used in posters, brochures and anthems of the National Alliance youth wing and later Brothers of Italy, and that Meloni's slogans frequently echo those of Mussolini.

In July, when Mario Draghi's government collapsed, Meloni took to the stage in Piazza Vittorio, a square in a multicultural area of Rome, and told her supporters: "We've had three different governments, three different majorities [since the March 2018 general elections]. Have any worked? No. History has proved us right."

Cheles said: "In an interview with a fascist journalist five days before his death, Mussolini said: 'History will prove me right ... a young person will rise, a leader who will inevitably agitate the ideas of fascism.' I don't think what Meloni said at Piazza Vittorio was purely accidental. The very phrase is so pompous, but in the far right when you mention 'history' you mean fascism."

Other than Abruzzo, Brothers of Italy has led the Marche region since 2020. On 28 October 2019, Marche's current president, Francesco Acquaroli, attended a commemorative dinner to mark the anniversary of Mussolini's "march on Rome" along with several Brothers of Italy mayors.

Pietro Perini, the son of a second world war resistance fighter and president of a unit of ANPI, the anti-fascism organisation, in the Marche town of Ascoli Piceno, said: "If she really wants to take a distance from fascism, then why did she go to Spain to speak at the Vox rally?

"It's only words, she's just campaigning for the elections," he said. "And after 25 September, I'm pretty sure the Mussolini commemorative dinners will return."


Yeah and I think they will be Janus faced between domestic and foreign audiences (possibly like early Orban, entrenching power at home before confrontations abroad?) - the constant references to how European and Atlanticist they are for example.

Plus if they appear threatening on that front then I think, based on his approach with the M5S/Lega coalition, that Matterella will use his powers to their extent to stop any shift of Italy's position internationally - especially in relation to Europe.

There was a really good piece by Helen Thompson in the New Statesman before Draghi fell, it feels slightly unsustainable that elections in Italy are increasingly (since the Euro crisis) either meaningless or dangerous.
Let's bomb Russia!