Meloni passes the 100-day exam in Italy


The conservative prime minister has forgotten the belligerent tone of her opposition days and is pursuing a reassuring foreign policy

The ‘lo Meloni’ cut, the latest fashion in Italian women’s hairdressers, is the best reflection of how high Giorgia Meloni’s popularity remains 100 days after she was sworn in as Prime Minister. While her arrival in the European Union last October sparked concern as she watched Rome form the most right-wing government since World War II, the truth is that the Conservative coalition leader has adopted much more moderate policies during this time . attitude than when he was in opposition. Very concerned not to frighten her international allies, Meloni has deployed a reassuring foreign policy to reaffirm Italy’s position vis-à-vis the European Union and also NATO, seamlessly supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion by arms to maintain shipments to Kiev.

On the domestic front, on the other hand, the first cracks are beginning to appear in the coalition formed by his party, the Brothers of Italy (HdI), with the League of Matteo Salvini and Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi’s political formation. The planned judicial reform has caused friction among the Allies to the point that Meloni’s spokesman was recently forced to publish a striking note in which he “sorry disappoints” those who speak of division, and guaranteed that ministers are working “in complete synergy” and in in the middle of an “optimum climate”. The polls also provide a glimpse of the possible end of this first period’s “honeymoon”: This week, HdI began to decline in the polls after months of sustained growth. In any case, it remains the leading political force with more than 30% in voting intentions, four points above the result of last September’s election.

“There is a clear disproportion between the radical discontinuity with regard to previous governments that Meloni promised during the election campaign and what he has done since he came to power,” said Michele Prospero, a political science professor at La Sapienza University in Rome. “It’s another case where the mountain gave birth to a mouse,” he says, using the famous fable. «The Executive passed the exam of these first 100 days with no major mistakes or major successes. He has done nothing out of the ordinary that indicates political or economic change. Essentially, it has continued in the path of the previous government, led by Mario Draghi, as evidenced by the approval of the budgets without much criticism,” says Sofia Ventura, professor of political science at the University of Bologna.

The first opportunity to gauge the government’s march at the polls will be on February 13, when regional elections will be held in Lombardy and Lazio, the country’s two most populous areas. In both cases, the polls predict a clear victory for the candidates of the right-wing coalition, which should help to keep peace between the executive branch’s partners. However, internal balances could be upset if HdI continues to eat away at the League in its historic stronghold in the north of the country, as happened in September’s elections. “Salvini came out of the last election very weak and his party could question his leadership if he continues to withdraw,” Ventura warns.

Partly due to the calm prospects for the future offered to Meloni is the comatose state in which the main opposition force, the Democratic Party (PD), finds itself. Its leader, Enrico Letta, resigned after the election debacle in September, after which the PD entered a phase of internal reflection that will end with the holding of primaries on February 26 to equip itself with a new secretary-general. Until then, the government need hardly fear attacks from this centre-left party; nor do the Five Star Movement and the centrist Third Pole, the other two opposition forces, pose a serious threat to Meloni’s interests.

“I think he will be able to govern without major worries, at least until the 2024 European elections,” Prospero predicts, noting, however, that in Italian politics, any crises arising from “rivalry and selfishness” within parties and coalitions are never can be governed. from. . The political scientist from the University of Bologna does not expect big news in immigration management, an issue against which Meloni promised a strong hand. “The executive is forcing NGO ships to disembark immigrants at ports in the north of the country, complicating their work and prolonging missions. But it is mainly a symbolic gesture, because these humanitarian ships are only responsible for about 10% of the rescues. The vast majority are made with military or coast guard vessels.

Source: La Verdad


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