Meloni, set to become Italy’s first female prime minister
The leader of far-right Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, is likely to be picked prime minister after the coalition of parties led by her secured a clear parliamentary majority in Sunday’s general election.
The new government is expected to shift Italian decision making to the right, while replacing the national unity executive led by former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.
Meloni’s party, which emerged as the biggest winner, led in the elections a right-wing bloc that includes EU-sceptic Matteo Salvini`s Lega/ League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.
Nevertheless, Borthers of Italy has a different public agenda on issues from Russian sanctions to spending.
If the disagreements between the three linger on, this could undermine the future government plans to tackle energy crisis, the biggest challenge since the sovereign debt crisis in 2009.
Italy’s economy is threatened by soaring energy prices, with biggest impact on industry. About 120,000 companies and 370,000 jobs are in danger, according to business lobby group Confcommercio.
The country could face rationing and recession, and former prime minister Mario Draghi allocated over 40 billion euros to fight soaring energy inflation.
Meloni’s winning political discourse addressed the economic challenges of Italy, with nationalistic accents and in support against Russia. She promised to stick to EU fiscal rules, while wanting to unite Italy.
Starting in politics at the age of 15, 45-year-old Meloni was a member of Movimento Sociale Italiano, a party rated by some as neo-fascist. Now, to make a win in the elections, Meloni also said the new government could slash a poverty relief scheme to fund tax cuts.
On the other hand, Lega’s leader Salvini, who hasn’t made secret his appreciation to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is a former Eurosceptic. He supports borrowing 30 billion euros to subsidize energy bills.
The other leader in the winning bloc Berlusconi, who has also been close to the Russian leader, would like to lift minimum pensions to 1,000 euros a month, at a potential cost of 31 billion euros a year.
This proposition come against Italy’s soaring public debt, which stand at 150% of GDP. Borrowing money has doubled for the country in six months, since yields on 10-year government bond is now at 4%.
The winning coalition has promised to rule for five years, a term that could prove rather ambitious since both Salvini and Berlusconi could push to deliver on their own electoral promises. Also, in Italy, the average of a government is about 14 months. The current context, with more crisis than one can handle, a full mandate could be a huge surprise.