The results aren't official, but it's a certainty that the far-right Brothers of Italy party has won the most votes in Italy's election on Sunday, reports the AP. That means party leader Giorgia Meloni is now the favorite to become the next prime minister, which is notable on two fronts. She would be Italy's first female prime minister, and she would lead the nation's "farthest-right government" since Mussolini, per the Washington Post. It could be weeks before any new government takes over, however, and much political horse-trading will take place in the interim. Coverage:
- About her: The BBC has a profile of the 45-year-old Meloni, who grew up in working-class Rome and was raised by a single mother. As a politician, her motto of "God, homeland, and family" speaks volumes. While women in Italy like the idea of a shattered glass ceiling, they also fear that Meloni's conservative views on issues such as abortion will actually hurt women's rights overall. She also opposes LGBT polices and is a staunch opponent of immigration. Her views are strongly nationalist.
- Fascism: Her party "descended from the remnants of fascism," writes Jason Horowitz in the New York Times. And the BBC story notes that Brothers of Italy, founded a decade ago, "has its political roots in the Italian Social Movement (MSI), which rose from the ashes of Mussolini's fascism." However, Meloni (who famously praised Mussolini as a politician years ago) today adamantly rejects the connection. “The Italian right has handed fascism over to history for decades now, unambiguously condemning the suppression of democracy and the ignominious anti-Jewish laws,” she said in a campaign video.
- But that logo: Her party uses a tricolor logo of a flame, which the BBC notes is "often perceived as the fire burning on Mussolini's tomb." It's the same one used by Giorgio Almirante, Mussolini's last chief of staff, when he launched the above-mentioned MSI in 1946, per the AP. “You can make whatever you want out of a flame, but everybody understood that Almirante was making a deeply emotional appeal to keep the spirit of fascism alive,” says Rutgers University professor T. Corey Brennan.
- Logo, II: Another political scientist, Gianluca Passarelli of Rome's Sapienza University, tells the BBC that Meloni won't drop the symbol because it's too deeply connected to her own youth. But "her party is not fascist," he says. "Fascism means to get power and destroy the system. She won't do that and she couldn't. But there are wings in the party linked to the neo-fascist movement. She has always played somehow in-between."
- Ukraine: Unlike leaders of other right-wing parties in Italy, Meloni has been a strong advocate of Ukraine and a critic of Vladimir Putin's invasion. Still, she might face internal pressure on the subject once in power, and a big concern in Europe is whether Italy might eventually become the "weak link" in the EU's unified opposition to Russia, per the Times.
- Governing: The Local looks at the specifics of what a Meloni government might actually do. Think slashed taxes, strong anti-immigrant policies, less support for LGBT policies, etc.
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