Giorgia Meloni is poised to become Italy's first female prime minister, with her party, Brothers of Italy, winning the most votes in the country's national election.
That has caused widespread concern in Europe, as the Brothers of Italy is a euroskeptic, far-right, populist party, and the only major political party that refused to join outgoing Mario Draghi'sDraghi's national unity government. After losing a vote of confidence within the coalition, Draghi resigned on Thursday. It might be too early to worry about Italy's politics making a turn to the ultra-right. Some Italian voters have voted in favor of Brothers of Italy, which has neo-fascist roots, but that does not necessarily mean that Italy is turning fascist.
The turnout for the election, which included Brothers of Italy, was a historic low of 64 percent, and about 30 percent of voters chose a different party in the 2018 election, although the union formed by the centrist and right gained about 44 percent of the votes in Sunday's election, which was a historic low of 64 percent. The meteoric rise of Brothers of Italy is a reflection of the Italian public's discontent with the status quo rather than a significant surge to the right, according to analysts.
Italy's economy is experiencing a crisis because of the COVID 19 pandemic and the global economic recession. In 2021, the unemployment rate in the country reached 9.83 percent, causing almost all major political parties to promise tax cuts, more jobs and better welfare in their election campaigns.
Italy's debt is more than 150 percent of its GDP for two consecutive years, and its financial deficit is expected to be as high as 5.6 percent. No one knows where the money needed to fulfill the promises will come from.
Despite her euroskeptic rhetoric, Meloni will not want to jeopardize the 191.5 billion euro that is Italy's share of the European Union's 750 billion euro pandemic recovery package, which comes with certain reform and investment conditions.
Her success is another proof of a right-wing, EU-skeptic swing in public sentiment in Europe. If the EU is going to hold together, more concrete actions are needed to improve people's livelihoods to counter the centrifugal force of public discontent.
It's convenient for Western politicians to blame China for their countries' illnesses and take a tough stance toward the country to show they intend to remedy the problems. Meloni has been no exception. They know that China is a key partner in their countries when it comes to the crunch. The trade volume between China and Italy was $55.2 billion in 2020, 0.4 percent higher than that of 2019. The volume went up by 37 percent year-on-year, to $60.3 billion in the first 10 months of 2021 alone.
There is huge potential for cooperation between the two countries, and it is to be hoped that the new Italian government continues to be practical in its policy towards China.