The prospect of a Prime Minister Meloni holds many questions and few answers
In a few short weeks, all eyes will be on Italy, as the nation will hold legislative elections that could result in a more stable government than the country has enjoyed in recent years. Currently, polls have the center-left Democratic Party (PD) and the surging relative newcomer Brothers of Italy (FdI) in a dead heat atop the field, each polling at 24% of the vote. The nativist League (Lega) is a distant third at 14%, and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) trails at 10%, followed by the center-right Forward Italy (FI) at 7% and a smattering of smaller parties claiming the remaining votes.
With a likely center-right coalition of the FdI, Lega and FI now just below the 50% threshold, what do we know about how a government led by Giorgia Meloni, the head of FdI, would actually govern? The answer to this question remains an enigma, but there are clues to how her potential agenda might unfold.
The Past Looms Large
For much of Europe—certainly for EU bureaucrats and for the Biden administration—jumping from the known administration of independent Mario Draghi to the unpredictable possibility of an FdI-led coalition is cause for much consternation. Draghi, a technocrat and president of the European Central Bank before he became prime minister in February 2021, led a unity government supported by six parties: PD, Lega, FI, M5S and two smaller parties (the centrist Italia Viva and leftist Article One). Draghi took over after an M5S government collapsed over disagreements relating to the spending of EU coronavirus recovery funds. The Draghi government itself collapsed this past June over disputes regarding a stimulus package intended to tackle cost-of-living increases.