In Italy, the post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia may win the election. It’s not just their fault In Italy, the nationalist Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) are expected to come to power this Sunday with their leader Giorgia Meloni. Recently published polls indicate that Fratelli – elected to parliament with just four percent in 2018 – has this time more than 25 percent of the vote and could thus become the strongest party. Fratelli, founded in 2012 by neo-fascist, Eurosceptic and national conservative politicians owe their current strength mainly to the weakness of other parties: for example, the center-left party Partito Democrático, failing to form a broad electoral coalition beyond right-wing parties and develop a positive dynamic. has been Electorate. Stars take themselves out of the game The Five Star Movement – still the most powerful force in 2018 – has lost its reputation as a former protest movement over the past five years in office and has taken itself out of the game due to numerous erratic decisions. And there are political misfits in the political center who seem more concerned with satisfying their own egos than making a convincing proposition for the center’s numerous moderate voters. But the parties aligned with Fratelli are also not very attractive at the moment: Lega chairman Matteo Salvini is considered a self-confessed admirer of Putin and has received little response to his calls to end arms supplies to Ukraine and lift sanctions against Russia. And 85-year-old Silvio Berlusconi, who was first elected prime minister 28 years ago, is rarely seen as a beacon of hope and problem-solver. Many Italians are indecisive ahead of the election, with around 40 percent of those eligible to vote still undecided who they will vote for. Unforeseen events can still influence the changing mood: How about the recently published reports that Russia has paid several groups to destabilize the Italian government? How is the deadly storm affecting central Italy, which has claimed many lives? If Georgia Meloni is indeed elected to succeed Mario Draghi as prime minister, she will not only be the first woman to hold the position, but also the first female politician since 1945. , who began his political career in a neo-fascist party – and that was shortly before the 100th anniversary of Mussolini’s rise to power. When asked about his own political roots, Meloni routinely responds by indicating that he does not want to talk about the past but about Italy’s future. Numerous observers believe the 45-year-old Roman woman will follow a pragmatic government line despite some anti-populist rants against Brussels bureaucrats, boat people and “marriage for all” advocates. Financial room for maneuver is too small for heavily indebted Italy to jeopardize an estimated 190 billion euros from EU restructuring funds. A renegotiation – as Meloni has been demanding during the election campaign – would jeopardize the path set by Prime Minister Mario Draghi and damage the Italian economy. Meloni probably won’t deviate from the usual NATO line on Russia: Why is Italy’s international credibility at risk? A Prime Minister Maloney also has to serve his own core clients. Therefore, no further liberalization of social policies can be expected under his government mandate – such as the approval of active euthanasia. But on foreign, security and economic policy, Maloney will stick to what is possible. This is also supported by the fact that Fratelli took over some former politicians from the bourgeois-conservative Forza Italia and appointed them to important posts. Governments last an average of 14 months, while skeptics believe that Meloni is pursuing an ideological project and will work with him against the consensus of Brussels and Strasbourg, another EU country. Meloni, who has ties to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and whose fraternal Polish ruling party PiS forms a party family at the European level, will be watching very closely how long Brussels’ response time is to non-EU-compliant government moves. In this context it would be logical for a Prime Minister, Georgia Meloni, to rebuke the European Union at such an event. Meloni will probably accept that his successor will have to clean up the European political mess he has caused. A glimmer of hope for Meloni’s opponents because Meloni also knows that the average term of government in Italy is only 14 months. Even the highly respected Mario Draghi, who led the Italian Republic’s 67th government in 76 years, was given just 17 months in office before parliament withdrew his confidence. As the Italian version of “checks and balances”, i.e. control of government by MPs. A future prime minister, Georgia Maloney, would also need to gain and maintain the confidence of Parliament to be able to govern. and experience has shown that in Italy it rarely lasts more than two years. There is a glimmer of hope for Italy for the Meloni detractors. Opinions expressed in guest contributions reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily correspond to those of the T-Online editorial team.