The Italian unlikely political alliances

Mrs. Giorgia Meloni.

Mrs. Giorgia Meloni.

Conservative rightists with bon vivants, pro-Vatican Catholics with tax austerity supporters, liberists with leftists.

This is the odd package offered by the three main coalitions challenging each other in the imminent Italian elections.

First, Mr. Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition.

Some members of his party came from the right-wing National Alliance party, which was born from the old neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, whose name was inspired to Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic.

Recently, these men and women discovered to be too rightist and conservative for Berlusconi’s party, so they founded their own, called ‘Brothers of Italy’. The Brothers, however, allied themselves with Berlusconi nevertheless. This did not stop Mrs. Giorgia Meloni, Berlusconi’s former Minister of Youth and now a ‘sister’, from stating that she was ‘ashamed’ when she was a member of Berlusconi’s party.

The second main ally of Berlusconi is the controversial Northern League party. The League represents the richer Northern regions of Italy, occasionally threatening to declare their independence as a sovereign State called ‘Padania’. The League is very conservative, and it did not hesitate to kick off its historical leader and founder Umberto Bossi when he was involved in a public funds embezzlement scandal. The League electors don’t like Berlusconi, who they consider too controversial and compromised. The new party secretary, Mr. Roberto Maroni, half-heartedly renewed the traditional alliance with Berlusconi, posing as a condition that the latter doesn’t try to be appointed prime minister; Mr. Berlusconi didn’t clearly accept this condition, however.

Then, there is Mr. Monti’s centrist coalition.

There is Mr. Monti, of course, and his entourage of economists and ‘civil society members’. But there is also a political component made of pro-Catholic politicians. Italian pro-Catholic politicians, beside opposing gay marriage, common law marriage and sometimes abortion, are usually busy asking for money for the Catholic Church, with particular reference to Catholic schools. How will they be able to cope with Monti’s pro-austerity agenda ? During his tenure as prime minister, Mr. Monti went to great lengths in order to force the Catholic Church to pay the real estate tax in full.

Finally, there is the leftist coalition led by the Democratic Party.

Here we have a liberal-centrist wing, led by the Mayor of Florence Matteo Renzi, an official wing led by party secretary Pier Luigi Bersani and a hard-line leftist wing led by the Governor of Apulia Nichi Vendola. Mr. Renzi and Mr. Bersani are willing to find an agreement with Mr. Monti if the Democratic Party fails to get control of the Senate, while Mr. Vendola is not. It would not be the first time that the Italian left tries to rule the country together with moderate-centrist elements and fails because of its hard-line wing.



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