Foreign policy expert Nathalie Tocci explains why Italy’s ultra-right is so popular and why it is so convinced of the transatlantic course. Even in EU politics, Fratelli d’Italia is likely to act moderately – albeit grudgingly.
According to polls, the right will clearly win in the parliamentary elections on Sunday in Italy. What does that mean for the relationship with Russia: Is the strictly transatlantic pro-Ukraine course of the previous government under Mario Draghi tipping over?
I don’t expect that. If the polls are correct, the most important parties pro-Putin will be severely weakened in the new parliament: the right-wing populist Lega, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the Five Star Movement are threatened with severe losses. These parties brought down Mario Draghi in July. Lega and Forza Italy will most likely be part of the new government – but they have been in government before. These two parties will not be decisive, but Giorgia Meloni’s ultra-right Fratelli d’Italia, which leads in all polls. As far as I know, Meloni has no significant contacts with the Kremlin. The closest international ties are with the US Republicans. Their transatlantic loyalty is genuine, based on an ultra-nationalist belief in a white, Christian, Western identity. In terms of foreign policy, Meloni is aligned with the Republicans. It is therefore crucial what attitude they take towards Moscow: if you remain on a pro-Ukraine course, then so will Meloni. But if they fall back into “Trumpian”, pro-Kremlin positions, then – who knows?