Exit polls say that far-right politician Giorgia Meloni is set to become Italy’s first female prime minister after she won 26% of the popular vote. This general election came after former prime minister Mario Draghi resigned as the Italian Prime minister triggering the snap general election, which closed today. An election that was originally meant to occur in the spring of 2023.
The Italian government is a democratic republic that functions similarly to the U.S., with an executive, judicial, and legislative branch along with a prime minister and a president. Unlike the U.S., however, the legislative branch, which is made up of two different bodies, has about fourteen different political parties that build coalitions among each other to pass legislation. Usually, the president will appoint a Prime Minister, who will only be able to stay in power after winning parliament’s approval. However, when Draghi resigned despite winning parliamentary approval, Sergio Mattarella, the president of Italy, dissolved parliament, triggering today’s general elections.
This snap general election is nothing new for the country. However, instead of the five-year election cycle that, according to the Italian constitution, is protocol, in the past seventy years since its creation, the election cycle has happened on average every 13 months.
Since Giorgia Meloni’s speech, saying, “I am a woman, a mother. I am an Italian, a Christian, and no one will ever take that away from me,” she signaled to Italians that her core values were the same as the old fascist Italian dictator and nazi ally Mussolini. Her speech struck a nerve with the Italian people, as support for her party in the general election rose from 4 percent to 25 percent. While it remains unclear who in reality, if anybody at all, is actually threatening her country, god and family. Her rhetoric about the LGBTQ community and African immigrants sheds light on who she herself sees as the enemy.
Although Giorgia Meloni has stated she “has relegated fascism to the past,” both she and her party, Brothers of Italy, have attracted the support of fascist Italians who say they long for a return to order, along with a return to Italian greatness.