Extremist Giorgia Meloni Named Italy’s Prime Minister

Audrey Jordano, Contributing Writer

Italy’s Prime Minister election was a dramatic victory for right-wing politics in Europe and around the world. Giorgia Meloni, an extremely conservative Italian politician, won the election with 26% of the vote, said the New York Times. Following her win, liberals were disturbed that Meloni’s party, Brothers of Italy, was widely known for its nationalist and fascist roots tied to Benito Mussolini’s WWII regime. 

When Meloni won in Italy, she made it clear that extremist policies were on the rise.

Meloni has frequently tried to convince the public that she is not fascist, but her party’s history and political allies have proved otherwise. BBC News mentioned that Silvio Berlusconi, a previous Italian prime minister and a supporter of Meloni, commented that Russia was forced to invade Ukraine. Berlusconi proceeded to question Western sanctions on the Kremlin. For Meloni, nationalist statements from her supporters posed a threat to her reputation in the European Union (EU). In opposition, she has responded firmly in support of Ukraine, including to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy himself. These conflicting opinions have left leaders skeptical of Meloni’s term, as many believed she would not prioritize the interests of the entire EU, let alone those of Ukraine.  

As for Italian citizens, AP News reported that protests supporting abortion rights flooded the streets of Rome and Milan on September 28th, 2022, shortly after Meloni was elected. Although she does not identify as anti-choice, Meloni’s conservative politics paralleled those of various pro-life leaders. For example, Meloni promised to defend “God, country, and family,” said The Washington Post, which pro-choice activists took as a warning that her beliefs may not agree with progressive abortion laws. 

Moreover, the soon-to-be prime minister took a powerful stance against the LGBTQ+ community, said AP News, meaning that millions of Italian citizens would no longer have the rights they deserve. BBC News quoted Meloni saying, “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby,” which many found frightening. Unsurprisingly, LGBTQ+ people were not the only ones living in fear of Meloni’s agenda: BBC News also reported that “Ms Meloni wants a naval blockade to stop migrant boats leaving Libya.” Essentially, Meloni aims to decrease immigration into Italy, in particular, on the nation’s southern borders. She told The Washington Post that “migrant flows need to be managed.” 

When Meloni won in Italy, she made it clear that extremist politics were on the rise in the Russia-Ukraine War era. Her drastic immigration policies and religion-based political views have upset many Italians; just as conservative American politicians continue to cause controversies by polarizing farther to the right. As the midterm elections approached in the United States, Meloni’s win became more relevant to Americans. 

When CRLS students were asked by the Register Forum if the trend of conservative candidates winning elections would extend into the United States this year, most said yes. Alexandra Mahajan ’24 emphasized the increasing divisiveness in the U.S and globally. Mahajan stated, “I think the way things are going people are just not … looking to find the middle ground. … So I think, yeah, more republicans will get the win.” Meadow Bilimoria ’25 was not so sure. Bilimoria replied, “I could see it going either way. It depends on … the political views that get put out in the media.” In Cambridge, students predict that the wave of conservatism that struck Italy would make its way over to the U.S., especially due to increasing partisan division and more extreme views being represented in the media.

This piece also appears in our October 2022 print edition.