“Giorgia, Giorgi, Giorgi”, they shout in the plaza. The leaders of the centre-right coalition, further to the right than ever, finally take the stage, almost an hour later than expected. It’s about time Piazza del Popolo got a little more crowded. It will not fill completely. It is not a puncture, but it is not overloaded, as in other cases. But, and this is what is important now, this is primarily a pitch given to the Italian brothers, where the banners of the rest of the coalition disappear in a sea of flags bearing the logo of the Georgia Mellon party. So, before Mellon enters the stage, the others seem to open the acts. If the election is to be won next week, it will be in his hands, the leader of Italy’s Ultra Brothers party.
Silvio Berlusconi was the first to speak. When his image appears on the two large screens at the side of the stage, the immediate effect is one of a kind Back to the future. But there’s no time machine to bring Forza Italia back to what it was. They present him as “the most famous and respected Italian statesman in the world. The man who founded the centre-right”. “I’ve never heard anything like it,” he jokes. He talks as if he is still the leader of the alliance at 85, not a minority partner in the coalition to get Italy’s brothers out. But that he knows it shows when he takes the word to extremes about “uncontrolled illegal invasion” and “freedom against communism.”
Long live Giorgi, long live the brothers of Italy, – he shouts at the end of his speech. “Viva Matteo and Viva la Liga. Viva Forza Italia and Viva la Libertad” takes two seconds to add. Sounds like giving up on the evidence. No public polls have been held for two weeks, but secret polls are circulating in party and journalist chats and are an open secret. The forks vary a lot and there may be some surprises, but the clear fact is that the right-of-center will win as much as Meloni. The roles have changed. Four years ago, melons reached just over 4 percent. Now it’s Forza Italia, which may slightly surpass those figures. And then there is the League of Matteo Salvini, the man who took his party to more than 34 percent in the 2019 European elections and assured himself of being prime minister. Today he sees before his eyes Sorpaso To Mellon’s right, who could have doubled his number of votes, his formation would have scored below—and by quite a bit—what he scored in the 2018 generals.
When it’s his turn, Salvin, who has crossed the field to the stage by the dozen Selfie With the militants, it no longer has the luster of its best days. He is seen surrounded by a group of youths holding placards displaying his campaign slogans. One reads: “Stop Rye’s Law,” a fee paid to watch public television. “Stop the invasion,” says another. He was always her favorite. This is the part of his speech where he is most comfortable attacking immigrants, “us and them,” the rhetoric of poor Italians and those arriving in Lampedusa. He doesn’t say “Italians first” anymore, he doesn’t kiss the rosary like he used to, but when the bells are heard from a nearby church, he doesn’t miss the opportunity: “Welcome the bells. And let no one come into our country who wants to change our way of thinking. “I’m ready to do it all” ,” he promises. “As Prime Minister, yes, Italians want it. As a humble servant of the state, yes, Italians want it that way.”
The field applauds him, but it has nothing to do with the warmth they show Mellon. “Thank you for this brilliant pitch,” he begins. “It’s Giorgia, it’s Giorgia,” they repeat. He laughs. It is comfortable. This is your place. He repeats point by point what he said in dozens of interviews, dozens of meetings. It’s a rehearsed script and this time he’s in control. He is not dry like Vox, an image he tried to shed throughout the election campaign. You don’t need it either. “They said we’re scary. Who are we to be afraid of? Did I scare you?” – he asks. The answer is self-evident. “Those who want a weak Italy are afraid of us.”
“They say people should cover their noses and vote for the left. I see an air of freedom here,” he repeats. This is what they want to hear. Many waited for hours to hear him speak. There are several young people in the youth of the party. Some have come from other cities. Like Alessio Moroni, 26, an international relations student who moved from Terni, an hour and a half’s drive away. He says he helped open a youth chapter of the Brothers of Italy in his town, the old Red Fort, where the steel mill workers who dominated the life of the place now vote right. “We are happy because many young people, driven by the national boom, are coming. The time is ripe for cities like Terni to free themselves from the hegemony of the left.” In Terni, in fact, the “hegemony of the left” ended years ago, and the city council won the league in the last municipal elections. But for a moron, it is necessary to take a step. “Because the cultural substratum is still hegemonized by the left. We must move towards the majority of the cultural sphere. We are closely connected to our values, the defense of the nation and Italians, without to dictate from the outside. This doesn’t mean shutting us down, but saying what we think with other international competitors, especially in a global world like this.”
When asked what he thinks when they talk about fascism, he answers: “Sterile accusations. There is no place for nostalgia in our party. This is something that happened a hundred years ago, which had certain historical formation reasons. A context that cannot be replicated, nor is it desirable.” Do you then recognize yourself in the anti-fascist values of republican Italy? “We recognize ourselves in the values of democracy, which was formed after the Second World War. We do not identify ourselves with anti-fascism, which labels any form of reaction to left-wing thought as fascist.” 20-year-old Benedetta and 18-year-old Margarita think of him as him. Except for the latter, the first two were not from right-wing families. rather the opposite. “My father worked in a steel mill and was on the left, and he still votes left. It’s the game of democracy,” says Moroni. Benedetta’s father belonged to the left-wing CGIL union for years, then joined the League in 2018, and will now vote by the example of his daughter, who joined the Italian brothers at the age of 16. “The values of country and family belong to me. It’s something I felt very strongly about. I’ve always found the rhetoric of globalization fascinating, which forces us to deny who we are.”
This is the sentiment of the majority in this square, which Mellon promises a stable government for five years, “whether the left likes it or not”, a government of a “serious, strong and internationally respected Italy”. He will repeat that the center-right is united and the united rule. The partitions are there, but you shouldn’t see them.
Still, the dynamics of the election campaign made it clear that the competition was internal. Eager to project an image of moderation, calm and reasonableness, Mellon has repeatedly come out and reiterated that the sanctions are working against Putin’s Russia, while his running mate Salvini has said they hurt those who imposed them. . When the League leader asked for more spending and more debt, he replied that this is something the country cannot afford… they are without shouting, but they are constant and this heralds the turbulence of the day after the election. Forza Italia reiterates that they are and will be the guarantee of a moderate government, a guarantee to Brussels that Italy will not accept other paths than the “liberal, Christian, Europeanist and Atlanticist” center-right, as Silvio Berlusconi said. A day after the European Parliament voted on a resolution that decided Hungary is no longer a full democracy and where the Italian brothers and the League voted against it along with Vox. “If these gentlemen, our allies that I trust and respect, are going to choose other paths, we will not be there,” the tycoon and former prime minister warned.
But Berlusconi plays a group role alongside the far-right, which he has boasted of “normalising”. The 2019 speech is memorable: “We created the League and the fascists entered the government in 1994, we legitimized them,” he said in front of his fighters. “Without us, they would be far-right, unable to win and certainly unable to govern.” It was 2019, but if anything went wrong in this country, it is a memory.
Source: El Diario